Leader of La Familia Michoacana and Five Bodyguards Captured in Mexico

By Dialogo
August 27, 2009

Mexico City, 24 August (EFE).- A second-ranking leader of the La Familia Michoacana cartel, one of the most active and violent groups in Mexico, was captured by soldiers and law-enforcement agents in the western state of Colima, together with five of his bodyguards, the federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR) announced today. The detainee is Luis Ricardo Magaña Mendoza, alias “El 19 1/2,” considered “one of the principal leaders” of La Familia Michoacana, a direct subordinate of the gang’s top bosses, Jesús Méndez, “El Chango,” and Nazario Moreno, “El Chayo,” the PGR said in a joint statement with the National Defense Ministry. He is at the same level as Servando Gómez, “La Tuta,” the criminal who became famous some weeks ago when in a telephone call to a television news program in the state of Michoacán, in the western part of the country, he called on the government to come to an agreement, a proposal that was rejected by the authorities. “El 19 1/2” and his five bodyguards were captured yesterday, Sunday, in Manzanillo (Colima). Soldiers and federal agents also seized two plastic bags containing white powder, apparently cocaine, eighteen cellular telephones, and an unspecified amount of money in cash. According to the authorities, Magaña Mendoza was responsible for controlling the traffic in synthetic drugs (“crystal meth”) to the United States on behalf of La Familia Michoacana, as well as engaging in extortion, kidnapping, and the co-opting of municipal, state, and federal authorities in several municipalities in Michoacán. He was also La Familia’s local boss for the municipality of Zamora, Michoacán. La Familia’s operations are concentrated in Michoacán, Guerrero (in the south of the country), and Mexico State (in the center of the country). It is considered the principal cartel trafficking in synthetic drugs.