The United States moves against La Familia Michoacana

La Familia last week:

Hitmen behead drug rivals
Published: 8:41AM Saturday October 17, 2009
Source: Reuters

Authorities in Mexico say drug hitmen have beheaded 10 rivals, chopped up their bodies and left them in plastic bags on an isolated road in western Mexico in the latest gruesome attack in a raging drug war.

The body parts filled 18 bags and were dumped in a delivery truck abandoned on a back road in the Pacific state of Guerrero along with a message from the La Familia (The Family) cartel that is fighting for smuggling routes in the area.

“La Familia doesn’t kill innocent people. Those who die deserve to die,” read a hand-scrawled message left on top of the bags.

Breaking yesterday:

La Familia Michoacana’s Increasing Woes
October 22, 2009 | 2331 GMT

The heads of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and the FBI announced the results of Project Coronado, a 44-monthlong multiagency operation against the Mexican drug trafficking organization La Familia Michoacana (LFM), the morning of Oct. 22. According to the officials, 1,186 individuals across 19 states were arrested and $33 million, 1,999 kilograms of cocaine, 2,730 pounds of methamphetamine, 29 pounds of heroin, 16,390 pounds of marijuana, 389 weapons, 269 vehicles and two synthetic drug laboratories were seized over the course of the operation.

LFM is one of the most violent and ambitious criminal organizations in Mexico, but also one of the smallest. This kind of operation is thus sure to have a serious impact on LFM’s operations both at home and abroad, especially as Mexican authorities have been stepping up operations against the group in its home state of Michoacan.

LFM was formed more than 20 years ago as a vigilante group aimed at kidnappers, drug traffickers and other criminals operating in the southern Mexican state of Michoacan. As the years passed, LFM itself became involved in the drug trade, particularly in methamphetamine trafficking. The group later formed an alliance with the Gulf cartel and came under the control of Los Zetas. LFM, as it is currently known, formed in 2006 after several of the groups’ leaders split from Los Zetas. Since then, LFM has developed a reputation as one of the most strange and violent drug-trafficking organizations in Mexico due to the purportedly Christian-based teachings of its ideological leader, known as El Mas Loco, who advocates the torture and murder of LFM opponents as a representation of divine justice. LFM’s reputation has won it the title of the most dangerous criminal organization in Mexico according to former Mexican Attorney General Eduardo Medina Mora. in Mexico