Tag Archives: la familia michoacan

As La Familia Michoacana and Los Caballeros Templarios battle it out, bodies are strewn across Southern Mexico

After last year’s killing of La Familia Michoacana’s notorious leader, Nazario Moreno Gonzales, by Mexican law enforcement, the ultra-Christian ultra-violent Mexican drug cartel split into two parts: a surviving La Familia faction, and Los Caballeros Templarios (the Knights Templar).

Violent fighting has erupted between the two factions as they seek control over the lucrative methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana drug trade in and exported from Michoacan and its neighbor states. The most recent fighting has been brutal, with dozens of message-laden bodies left scattered across Southern neighborhoods.

21 Bodies Found in South Mexico
Patrick Corcoran | 09 June 2011

Twenty-one corpses, seemingly killed by suffocation, were found in Michoacan, a state along Mexico’s Pacific coast known as the base of drug trafficking gang the Familia Michoacana.

. . turmoil among the remaining leaders of the Familia, which has been buffeted by a series of blows from the government in recent months, has precipitated a split, with former Familia boss Servando Gomez, alias “La Tuta,” taking a big chunk of the gang and forming a group dubbed the Caballeros Templarios (Knights Templar).

The portion of the group still calling itself the Familia is loyal to leader Jose de Jesus Mendez, alias “El Chango,” and the Caballeros have been battling it out for control of Michoacan, which is a valuable site of methamphetamine production as well as home to one of Mexico’s largest ports, in Lazaro Cardenas.

The most recent killings came over the weekend:

23 Bodies dumped in southern Mexico
June 21, 2011

The bodies of 23 murder victims have been dumped at various locations in the southern Mexican state of Michoacan over the past three days, an official told Efe.

Five men were found shot to death Monday in Paracho, a town about 80 kilometers (50 miles) west of Morelia, the state capital.

The five bodies were left at three different spots in the town, each accompanied by a message claiming responsibility on behalf of Los Caballeros Templarios (Knights Templar), a remnant of the La Familia Michoacana drug cartel, the state official said . .

On Saturday, the bodies of eight murdered men appeared on the streets of Lazaro Cardenas, a port city in Michoacan . .

The La Familia faction led by Jesus Mendez is battling the faction led by Servando Gomez and Enrique Plancarte, who formed Los Caballeros Templarios in March, journalists from Michoacan told Efe.

La Familia Michoacana began unraveling after the death in a shootout with Federal Police officers in late 2010 of Nazario Moreno Gonzalez, known as “El Chayo.”

A total of 15,270 people died in drug-related violence in Mexico last year, and nearly 40,000 people have died since President Felipe Calderon declared war on the country’s cartels shortly after taking office in December 2006.

And now, breaking news: La Familia’s leader, Jose de Jesus Mendez Vargas, got captured by federales yesterday. In the war between the two ultra-Conservative Christianist drug cartels, the advantage swings to the Knights Templar.


Jose de Jesus Mendez Vargas, “El Chango,” leader of La Familia Michoacana, captured

After last year’s killing of La Familia Michoacana’s notorious leader, Nazario Moreno Gonzales, by Mexican law enforcement, the ultra-Christian ultra-violent Mexican drug cartel split into two parts: a surviving La Familia faction, and Los Caballeros Templarios (the Knights Templar).

In yet another blow to LFM, their remaining leader, Jose de Jesus Mendez Vargas, was arrested Tuesday.

Mexican authorities: Top cartel leader captured
CNN Wire Staff | June 22, 2011

Mexico City (CNN) — . . Federal police captured Jose de Jesus Mendez Vargas, also known as “El Chango,” in an operation in the state of Aguascalientes, Mexico’s national security spokesman said.

Spokesman Alejandro Poire called Mendez the “principal head” of La Familia Michoacana cartel and said his capture was the federal government’s “most overwhelming blow” to the group.

“This capture destroys what remained of the leadership structure of this criminal organization,” he said.

Mexican President Felipe Calderon praised the capture on his official Twitter account: “A large blow by federal police to organized crime. One of the most wanted criminals was captured. Congratulations.”

Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office had offered a 30 million peso ($2.5 million) reward for information leading to his arrest, saying Mendez was the mastermind behind drug trafficking, kidnappings and killings.

It’s a significant win for the federales, Calderon, and the people of Mexico:

La Familia Michoacana are extremely twisted, violent and right-wing (see here). The numbers of people that have died at the hands of the Christianist beheaders may total in the thousands.

I wouldn’t bet against their former brothers, now rivals, the Knights Templar, tipping off the federales to Mendez Vargas’ whereabouts in order to eliminate him. Both factions are well-tied to police and other law enforcement personnel.


Federales kill Nazario Moreno Gonzales — “El Chayo” — leader of La Familia Michoacana

As a result of running gun battles between La Familia Michoacana and Mexican government forces that raged week-long across the western state of Michoacan, a serious blow was dealt to the Christianist drug cartel Thursday. The head and spiritual leader of La Familia, Nazario Moreno Gonzalez — El Chayo — was shot and killed.

Nazario “El Chayo” Moreno, one of the purported founders of “La Familia” drug cartel, was thought to have died during a battle this week with security forces, said Alejandro Poiré, the Mexican spokesman on security matters.

Nazario Moreno Gonzalez, the leader of Mexico’s La Familia drug cartel, was shot and killed yesterday by authorities in the western state of Michoacan, government security spokesman Alejandro Poire said today.

Moreno, known as “El Chayo,” was a founder of what the U.S. government calls “one of Mexico’s newest and most violent drug cartels.” The Mexican government had Moreno on its most- wanted list, offering 30 million pesos ($2.4 million) for information that could lead to his arrest.

The extensive fighting underscored the government’s growing willingness to fight the ultra-violent cartel. El Chayo’s death is a big victory for Mexico, its people, and President Felipe Calderon. The horrible intrastate violence came at a steep price, though: a number of people were injured and killed, civilians included.

The conflict in Michoacán included shootouts between federal forces and cartel gunmen in 12 cities across the state. Among the dead: the teenage daughter of a city mayor and an eight-month-old baby who authorities said was hit by a stray bullet.

This week’s sweeping battles took a toll on security forces. Five federal police were killed along with three people believed to be drug gang members, Mr. Poiré said.

The damage done to La Familia Michoacan as a result of El Chayo’s death is yet to be known, but is likely significant. La Familia was famous not only for its extremely violent ways — beheadings were a trademark of the group — but also for its demands that members follow an extremist Christianity inspired by American John Eldredge.

A favorite of James Dobson and his ‘Focus on the Family,’ Eldredge wrote and taught about a brand of Christian men’s life that emphasized machismo. Eldredege claimed that the essential nature of men, as personified by Jesus Christ, is one of being ‘Wild at Heart,’ the title of his book that made the dubious case.

El Chayo took Eldredge to heart, and reinforced the ‘wild’ idea to its members. It was he who created the disciplined but contrasting behavior of a drug gang who were quick to ambush and kill policemen, assassinate cartel rivals whose severed heads became public calling cards, but also to read and take to heart both Eldredge’s incitements as well as El Chayo’s: he wrote his own ‘bible’ and proudly distributed it freely to members and Michoacanas.

We will see how effectively his lieutenants can carry on his spiritual philosophy and teachings. With La Familia Michoacana, the personal imprints of ‘El Mas Loco’ certainly fueled its quick rise to success, notoriety, and vast riches. Within the world of the cartels, eternally at war with the government of Mexico and its people, we hope they fail.

[sources: Business Week, BBC, Wall Street Journal, Momento 24.]

ADD: Here’s a Google-and-me translated sketch of the notorious life of La Familia’s now dead leader, Moreno Gonzales:

“El Chayo,” boss who brought “divine justice” to Michoacan with AK-47s, killed
Julián Rodríguez Marín | Dec. 10, 2010

(EFE) – He was considered a messiah by his countrymen, but Nazario Moreno Gonzalez, alias “El Chayo,” cartel leader of La Familia Michoacana, was more likely to bring “divine justice” to his enemies.

Also known as “El Mas Loco,” Gonzales was killed yesterday in a lengthy shootout with Mexican security forces in his native Apatzingan, one of his strongholds in the southwestern state that served as a base, Michoacán . .

According to sources, as leader of the cartel, Gonzales evangelized members into La Familia by recruiting recovering drug addicts in clinics opened, ironically, to treat addictions to the drugs he dealt.

Once clean, they were prohibited from using drugs and alcohol and became part of “The Family.” Prayer meetings and target practice were parts of their discipline.

The group took a major leap in the scale of drug smuggling in 2004 through an alliance with the powerful northern Gulf cartel operating in his name and under the name “The Company.”

La Familia offered loans to farmers, businesses, schools and churches, and provided social support to the area’s most disadvantaged.

This won some support among sectors of Michoacán, which offered the cartel a large network of informers and collaborators, including politicians and police . .

According to several experts, La Familia’s core businesses included dealing cocaine, marijuana and designer drugs in Mexico and to the U.S., and frequently employed kidnapping, beheadings, torture and extortion among their violent tactics.

In 2006, several gunmen threw five heads onto the dance floor of a nightclub, along with the message: “La Familia does not kill for money, does not kill women, does not kill innocent people, only those who deserve to die. Know that this is divine justice.

After a series of challenges by the Government, which offered a reward of 2.4 million dollars for “El Chayo”, La Familia suffered a series of setbacks in 2009.

In August of 2009, President Felipe Calderón, a native of Michoacan, sent thousands of soldiers and police to the state in retaliation for the killing of twelve federal police and to check the growing brazenness of the cartel. One year and four months later, “El Chayo” was shot and killed.


La Familia Michoacana kill for control of Morelos and Guerrero

The ultra-Christian ultra-violent Mexican drug cartel La Familia Michoacana, having expanded beyond Michoacan, are warring for control of the neighboring southwestern Mexican states of Morelos and Guerrero.

In competing with Gulf, Zetas and Beltran Leyva cartels and with local authorities, they have employed their usual tactics: kidnappings, beheadings, and leaving messages behind for the public and police.

Diario de Morelos, September 5th (Google translation):

La Familia enter the Morelos war

The discovery of an alleged “narco message” signed by La Familia Michoacana, left with a corpse in the colony of Otilio Monta or in Cuautla, confirms that the criminal organization is fighting for control of drug trafficking in Morelos.

. . “from now on the rulers here are La Familia Michoacana” was part of the message that members of the cartel left behind.

. . Military, police, ministerial staff and forensics experts exam-ined a dead man strongly built with short hair, his hands tied behind his back, his face wrapped with duck tape, with a “narco message” left at his feet . .

Excelsior this weekend:

“La Familia Michoacana” increases criminal activity in Morelos

MORELOS, September 18 – At least five people have been executed in the last 24 hours in Morelos, due to the war between drug cartels vying for control of the area. In addition, ‘La Barbie’ Cartel South Pacific has also entered the dispute with La Familia Michoacana.

These murders confirm the progress of the cartel into the center of the republic, and the group have begun to leave the bodies of their victims with “narco messages” to claim its territorial expansion into the states of Michoacán, Guerrero, State of Mexico and Morelos and others.

Around 11 pm on Friday, the bodies of two young people between 25 and 30 years old were found in the stretch of highway that leads from the Mexico-Cuernavaca Mariano Matamoros Airport . .

The bodies had bullet wounds, were gagged and tied hand and foot, and were left with a La Familia Michoacana “narco message” . . the bodies were also painted with the initials of the criminal cartel.

And yesterday, in Guerrero, the bodies of a number of abducted policemen were recovered. La Familia Michoacana would certainly be suspected in the multiple kidnappings and killings for obvious reasons. In June, they ambushed and killed 10 policemen in a military style attack in nearby Michoacan. In July of last year, after the arrest of a high-ranking cartel member, La Familia went to war with the police, killing at least 19 in only a few days. Lastly, at least two of the bodies were decapitated and their heads tossed into a public area, a trademark of the cartel:

6 abducted police found slain in Mexican state
(AP) – September 19, 2010

ACAPULCO, Mexico — The bodies of six kidnapped police officers, most of them dismembered, were found Sunday in a ravine in the Mexican state of Guerrero, bringing to eight the death toll from a mass abduction of policemen, officials said . .

Two other bodies were found on Saturday, accounting for all nine officers who disappeared Friday after going to identify a body in the community of El Revelado, located about 165 miles (265 kilometers) south of Mexico City . .

Previous La Familia murder and message

Mexico’s government says the Gulf Cartel and the Zetas gang are fighting for control of the region with La Familia Michoacana. The state was also a base for detained drug lord Sergio Valdez Villarreal – alias “La Barbie” – who was fighting for control of the Beltran Leyva cartel with Hector Beltran Leyva.

The bodies found Saturday corresponded to two heads thrown from a moving vehicle into a refreshment stand in the municipality of Coyuca de Catalan in Guerrero, according to a report by the state Public Safety and Civil Protection office.

The first two bodies were accompanied by a note that threatened a similar fate for anyone supporting Hector Beltran Leyva and suspected trafficker Reynaldo Pineda Chavez, saying “Guerrero and Morelos (states) have an owner and they know who it is . . “


La Familia Michoacana suspected in Zitacuaro ambush killing of 10 federales

Don’t know who else in Michoacan, other than the infamous ultra-right-wing Christianist decapitation drug cartel who own and terrorize the state, would have the firepower and wherewithal to pull off this sort of mass-murder of federal policeman.

They’ve done it before. When La Familia’s top assassin got arrested by the cops in July of last year, they killed 5 federal law enforcement officials within a couple of hours.

Ambush in Central Mexico Leaves 10 Federal Police Officers Dead
Latin American Herald Tribune | June 20 2010

MEXICO CITY – Ten Federal Police officers and several criminals died in an ambush Monday on a police unit near Zitacuaro, a city in Mexico’s Michoacan state, officials said.

The officers, who are providing security in several cities in Michoacan, were attacked as they traveled from Ciudad Hidalgo, a city in Michoacan, to the Federal District, the Public Safety Secretariat said.

The ambush occurred in downtown Zitacuaro, located 168 kilometers (104 miles) west of Mexico City, near a place called Lengua de Vaca.

The officers took fire near the National Technical Professional Education School, or Conalep, in Zitacuaro.

“Ten Federal Police officers lost their lives and several others were wounded while repelling the attack,” the secretariat said . .

la familia zitacuaro ambush

“Several assailants lost their lives and others were wounded” in the shootout, the secretariat said, adding that “the bodies and wounded from the armed group were pulled out of the area by their accomplices.”

Federal Police officers are searching for the gunmen by air and land.

Army troops, Federal Police reinforcements, state police and emergency services personnel went to the scene of the ambush to help the wounded officers, Michoacan Public Safety Secretary Minerva Bautista told Formato 21 radio.

Investigators have not determined who carried out the attack and it is not known if any arrests have been made, Bautista said.

Michoacan is a stronghold of La Familia Michoacana, a drug cartel infamous for decapitating and dismembering enemies, as well as for mounting attacks on the security forces.


La Familia Michoacana now beheading rivals in tourist-laden Acapulco

The hyper-murderous Christian lunatic beheading drug cartel, La Familia Michoacana, continue to spread violence and influence outside of their home state.

Their trademark headless victims are now being found on the streets of vacation mecca Acapulco, in the state of Guerrero:

Bloodshed blights Acapulco resort
Page last updated at 01:03 GMT, Sunday, 14 March 2010

La Familia strike in AcapulcoThirteen people have been killed in an outbreak of drug-related violence in the southern Mexican beach resort of Acapulco, officials have said.

Five of the dead were police officers whose patrol was machine gunned.

Eight other bullet-riddled bodies were discovered in different areas around the city – four had been beheaded . .

The Pacific states of Guerrero and neighbouring Michoacan are largely under the control of the powerful “La Familia” cartel . .

The latest bloodshed could not have come at a worse time: it is a holiday weekend in Mexico and the start of the spring break, which brings a surge of American visitors.

At least two of the decapitated victims were dumped close to the centre of Acapulco, on a highway popular with tourists for its scenic views.

The BBC’s Julian Miglierini, in Mexico City, says the country’s drugs war has cast a long shadow on the world-famousla familia strike in acapulco 2 sunny beaches of the city known as Mexico’s Pacific Jewel.

Although many Mexicans and foreigners continue to choose Acapulco as a holiday destination, Saturday’s events seem to confirm that its reputation as an idyllic destination is long gone, he adds.


La Familia Michoacana decapitate yet another rival, dump his head on site of city officials

Dateline of this article was Tuesday. Read more about the christianist decapitating drug cartel here.

‘La Familia Michoacana’ decapitated yet another victim, this one in the town of Celaya, in Guanajuato, just north of Michoacan. They put his head in a cooler and dumped it in front of the city’s ‘Presidencia Municipal.’ As usual, they left a message with the head, but authorities are not giving it out specific details of the text.

If you’re Spanish is better than mine, read the account here.

la familia head


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


La Familia Michocana’s deadly war on the police: at least 19 killed in three days.

For some background on the ultra-violent ultra-Christian drug cartel, you can go here. If this is what they’re willing to do after only one high-ranking member is arrested, it makes you wonder what they’ll do next now that ‘El Chivo’, Francisco Javier Frias Lara, is also now in custody.

Mexican state awash in recent violence

(CNN) — In recent days, Michoacan, the home state of President Felipe Calderon, has become a flashpoint of violence in Mexico’s deadly war against drug cartels. Since Calderon went after the drug cartels shortly after coming into office in 2006, more than 10,000 people have died across Mexico, about 1,000 of them police.

High-ranking drug cartel member Arnoldo Rueda Medina was arrested Saturday, triggering an ambush on police.

In the latest incident, 12 bodies of federal police officers were found on the side of a remote highway, said Monte Alejandro Rubido Garcia, technical secretary for Mexico’s national security council, at a news conference Tuesday. The bodies showed evidence of torture.

The officers were “ambushed while they were off duty by an armed group,” Rubido said. One of the 12 officers was a woman.

The bodies were found in a pile near the town of La Huacana, he added.

Rubido said the slain officers had been doing “investigative work” in the city of Arteaga in Michoacan, one of the states most affected by the government’s offensive against drug cartels.

Rubido announced the arrest of Francisco Javier Frias Lara, known as “El Chivo,” in connection with the killings of the officers.

Frias is a member of La Familia Michoacana, one of the region’s most powerful drug cartels, Rubido said.

Federal police around the country will redouble security measures for its agents, Rubido said.

The sudden spike in violence followed the arrest Saturday of Arnoldo Rueda Medina, who authorities described as a high-ranking member of La Familia Michoacana.

Cartel members first attacked the federal police station in Morelia to try to gain freedom for Rueda, authorities said. When that failed, the drug gangs attacked police installations in at least a half-dozen Michoacan cities. Coordinated attacks in eight cities over the weekend left three federal police officers and two soldiers dead.

It was the federal police who arrested Rueda, and the current spate of attacks appear aimed at them in revenge.

On Tuesday, two federal police officers were killed and four wounded in an ambush in Michoacan, the state-run Notimex news agency reported.

Also Tuesday, a federal police station in the Michoacan city of Maravatio was attacked, news reports said. There were no immediate reports of casualties.

A local Michoacan newspaper put the body count in recent days at 32.

La Familia Michoacana emerged in the 1990s as a conservative paramilitary group designed to insulate the state from the large drug cartels, said Bruce Bagley, a professor at the University of Miami and expert on drug trafficking.

But over the years, the group evolved into a drug trafficking operation itself, forging strategic alliances with warring cartels to raise its own profile.

This week’s violence solidifies the cartel as a major and violent player in Mexico’s drug wars, Bagley said.

“This represents the third evolution of the Familia Michoacana,” he said.

Reprisals from drug cartels following major arrests have been reported before, but the intensity of these attacks in Michoacan are unprecedented.

La Familia Michoacana wants “to demonstrate that they have power and will not go away quietly into the night,” Bagley said.

Video from the scene of the slain officers showed three signs, known as narcomensajes, left by the killers that stated the same thing: “So that you come for another. We will be waiting for you here.”


La Familia Michoacana’s serial killing continues: 12 more bodies found on highway

Mind numbing. When will this end?

Police find 12 tortured bodies in Mexico

MEXICO CITY – Prosecutors said they found the bound, blindfolded and tortured bodies of at least a dozen people Monday on a roadside in the western state of Michoacan, which has become a flash point in Mexico’s war on drugs.

Initial reports indicated that 11 men and one woman were likely killed elsewhere at least a day earlier and dumped near the town of La Huacana, officials in the state attorney general’s office said.

It was one of the largest execution-style slayings since the killing of 24 men whose bodies were found bound with duct tape and shot in the head in September in a rural area west of Mexico City. In August 2008, the decapitated bodies of 12 men were found outside the southern city of Merida.

The officials, who spoke on customary condition of anonymity, said the number of victims could increase as police continue investigating the scene.

Also in Michoacan on Monday, the bodies of two men who had been tortured and executed were found near an airport in the state capital, Morelia.

In both cases, the methods used by the killers were those often used by drug cartels to eliminate rival traffickers.

In the Michoacan port of Lazaro Cardenas on Monday, gunmen attacked a hotel where federal police stay, wounding at least one officer, the officials said.

Michoacan, President Felipe Calderon’s home state, is at the center of his drug war and has been wracked by a wave of killings and arrests in recent weeks.


La Familia Michoacana’s chief assassin, Arnoldo Medina, got captured today. Familia declare war, kill three federales and two soldiers.

The nastiest, most murderous, decapititating fundamentalist Christians on the planet. Tough-guy John Eldredge should be proud.

Mexican police, soliders killed in multi-city attacks by drug gangs

MEXICO CITY, Mexico (CNN) — Coordinated attacks in at least seven Mexican cities killed three federal police officers and two soldiers Saturday in what officials are calling an unprecedented onslaught by drug gangs.

The attacks were in retribution for the capture early Saturday of Arnoldo Rueda Medina, a high-ranking member of the drug gang known as La Familia Michoacana (The Michoacan Family), the state-run Notimex news agency reported.

La familia bannerMedina is known as chief of assassins within the organization and a close confidante of Nazario “El Chayo” Moreno, one of the group’s two top leaders, the Mexican newspaper El Universal reported Saturday.

Men armed with high-powered rifles and grenades launched the attacks in the cities of Morelia, Zitacuaro, Zamora, Lazaro Cardenas, Apatzingan, La Piedad and Huetamo in Michoacan state, Notimex news said, citing federal police authorities.

The three officers were killed in Zitacuaro, police official Eduardo Moran told CNN en Español, while six police officers were reported wounded in Morelia. Two soldiers were killed in Zamora, shot by men in a passing car as they walked to their headquarters.

Michoacan is in west-central Mexico, on the Pacific coast.

The government, the brave officials, federales and policemen of Mexico, the ones who are standing up to the drug cartels, are unbelievably courageous. They should get a hell of a lot more cheers from us than they do, especially when you consider that it’s Americans’ cash that these para-militaries have used to out-arm and out-gun everybody.

Saturday’s attacks came just days after a drug gang in Tijuana declared they were at war with police, threatening to kill five officers every week until Police Chief Julian Leyzaola resigns.

The threat was made in a note found on the windshield of a slain officer’s car, news reports said.

leyzaolaAt least three Tijuana officers have been killed since Monday, reports said. Leyzaola, a former army colonel, replaced a police chief removed from office in December after receiving numerous threats.

“Leyzaola has become the poster boy for honest police work, which has put the drug gangs on notice,” Vicente Calderon, a reporter for the Tijuana Press news agency, told CNN affiliate KUSI.

“They believe he is serious, that he means business and is trying to re-establish the rule of law that has been affecting the city and whole state for many years since organized crime established themselves in Baja [California].”

Tijuana, the westernmost city in Mexico, is across the border from San Diego, California. Sixteen police officers have died there in 2009, and officers are now patrolling the city in groups of six, KUSI reported.

Leyzaola is the man, he’s serious.

You know that corruption has been a way of life there when the cartels make political demands about his employment. ‘We want somebody we can bribe.’


‘Focus on the Family’ outreach: Mexican drug decapitation cartel La Familia demand and preach John Eldredge’s ‘Muscular Christianity’

Surprised? Shocked, but not surprised.

NarcoGuerra Times–Cartels as Parallel State?

After two-years of war on the drug cartels–including the military occupation of Ciudad Juarez,– Mexican President Felipe Calderon’s mano dura campaign has little to show for all the blood and money spilled.

Last weekend an on-the-ground report from Michoacan came in that threw a sobering splash of cold water on Calderon’s claims of success in his narcoguerra. Fourteen Michoacan journalists interviewed for this report concurred that the cartel, La Familia Michoacana controlled at least 85% of the state. Some said the narcos had full reign. The cartels have agreements with local, state and federal authorities to conduct business–growing marijuana or poppies, transporting and wholesaling the commodities, running prostitution and extortion rackets or whatever other cash-generating enterprise they come up with…

But there’s another development that takes these new narcos to another, more interesting level where they are functioning behind populist ideology and in the case of La Familia, with Bible-based overtones. They refer to their assassinations and beheadings as “divine justice”.

La Familia: Another Deadly Mexican Syndicate

The death toll related to narco-trafficking in Mexico more than doubled last year, from 2,275 in 2007 to 5,207 in 2008. An increasingly important contributor to this ghastly mayhem is the shadowy Michoacana family, or La Familia. Its center of operations is the Pacific Coast state of Michoacan, home to trafficking routes and sophisticated factories for producing methamphetamine, as well as the port Lázaro Cárdenas, an open sesame for drug imports.

Although organized several years earlier, La Familia burst into the limelight on September 6, 2006, when 20 masked desperados stormed into scruffy Sol y Sombra night spot in Uruapan, Michoacan, fired shots into the air, ran up to the second floor from where they tossed five human heads onto the black and white dance floor.

They left behind a message, written on cardboard: “The family doesn’t kill for money. It doesn’t kill women. It doesn’t kill innocent people, only those who deserve to die. Know that this is divine justice.”

From Focus On The Family to La Familia Michoacana

La Familia Michoacana was all over the news out of Mexico last week. In President Calderon’s home state of Michoacan, federales carted off ten mayors and twenty other local officials who were allegedly under the control of La Familia, an ambitious cartel often described as a “pseudo-evangelical cult.”

On Saturday an internal intelligence report on La Familia from the Mexican justice department surfaced in Milenio, bringing the news that the faith-based cartel grounds its indoctrination program on the writings of macho Christian author and veteran Focus On The Family senior fellow John Eldredge, who now heads Ransomed Hearts Ministries in Colorado Springs.

There are four separate references to Eldredge in the Mexican intelligence memo on La Familia. The cartel has conducted a three-year recruitment and PR campaign across Michoacan featuring thousands of billboards and banderas carrying their evangelical message and warnings. La Familia is known for tagging its executions and other mayhem as “la divina justica”–divine justice.

The report says La Familia leader, Nazario Gonzalez Moreno aka El Loco o More Chayo (”The Craziest”) has made Eldredge’s books salvaje de corazon required reading for La Familia and has paid rural teachers and National Development Education members to circulate the Colorado-based evangelical’s writings throughout the Michoacan countryside.

Braveheart vs. Mister Rogers: John Eldredge’s Walk on the Wild Side

With this in mind, take a look at Wild at Heart. The basic contention is that God created man with a wild heart, and God did this because God Himself is wild at heart. An idea central to Eldredge’s message (and quoted from the inside dust jacket of the book) is that every man must have “a battle to fight, a beauty to rescue and an adventure to live. That is how he bears the image of God.” Eldredge holds up Braveheart hero William Wallace as an example of a real man, in contrast to the late Mister Rogers, the soft-spoken children’s TV personality, as a weak, modem Christian man.

Eldredge claims that if Christian men are going to change from a pitiful bunch of “really nice guys” to men who are made in the image of God (imago Det) they must re-examine their false presumptions about God’s character to recover their true, God-given, male identity as wild hearts. Eldredge’s message is permeated with his outdoor experiences, mixed with selected ideas gleaned from a variety of sources, including the neo-pagan offerings of several secular men’s movement writers and movies (especially, Legends of the Fall, Braveheart, and Gladiator). He combines this with loosely-interpreted Bible passages and evangelical “christianese.”

“Eldredge quotes from Isaiah 63, which describes God wearing blood-stained clothes, spattered as though he had been treading a wine press. Then he writes: ‘Talk about Braveheart. This is one fierce, wild, and passionate guy. I have never heard Mister Rogers talk like that. Come to think of it, I never heard anyone in church talk like that, either. But this is the God of heaven and earth.””

On August 18, 2006, the organization decapitated Jesús Rodríguez Valencia, a member of the Milenio Cartel, placing the following message next to his cadaver: “All that rises falls of its own weight, it would be like this, the family greets you.” Three months later, the police discovered two bodies on the Zamora-La Barca highway, next to which was a note that said: “For those who sell ice. This is divine justice. Sincerely, La Familia.” “Divine justice. No to the meth makers, La Familia,” was the text discovered alongside a body found on the Jacona-Los Reyes highway. The message appeared on a green card, reflecting the color that La Familia uses on its emblems, placards, and communications.

In all, authorities attributed 17 decapitations to La Familia in 2006 alone. Between the murder of Rodriguez Valencia that August and December 31, 2008, La Familia killed scores, if not hundreds, of people. There were 233 executions in Michoacan, most of whose victims belonged to one criminal band or another.