Wednesday, June 22, 2011

El Chango Méndez, La Familia Michoacana Cartel Leader Arrested By Mexican Federal Police

José de Jesús Méndez Vargas, aka, "El Chango Méndez"

Photo: SSP/Milenio

El Chango Méndez and Los Zetas agreed on alliance that resulted in sending 200 Zetas to Michoacan to help La Familia regain control of the state.

By H. Nelson Goodson
June 22, 2011

Cosío, Aguascalientes, Mexico - On Tuesday, Alejandro Poiré Romero, spokesperson for the Mexican Federal Secretary of Public Safety (SSP) announced in a press conference that José de Jesús Méndez Vargas, 50, aka, "El Chango Méndez," "El Pastor" or "Médico" was arrested by Federal Police. Vargas, originally from Ahuaje, Michoacan is considered the main leader of La Familia Michoacana Cartel, who was captured without incident in the municipality of Cosío in the state of Aguascalientes.
Vargas is accused of masterminding extortions, kidnappings, drug trafficking and killings. The Mexican Attorney General's Office had offered $30 million pesos ($2.5 million U.S.) for information leading to his arrest.
Vargas was transported by Federal Police to Mexico City for processing at the Mexican Attorney General's agency for Special Investigations of Organize Crime (Siedo), according to Romero.
Arrested along with Vargas on Tuesday were four members of his security detail identified as, Luis Alfonso Reyes Ramírez, 32, Luis Paredes Cárdenas, 35, Carlos Vizcaíno Tapia, 29, and Juan José Esquivel Barragán, 25.
According to the Federal Police report, Vargas became the leader of La Familia Michoacana, when he and Nazario Moreno, aka, "El Chayo" founded the criminal organization. They became notorious after the group disposed and threw five severed heads of rival gang members into a crowded night club dance floor in Michoacan.
Moreno was killed in a confrontation with Federal Police on December 9, 2010 in Apatzingán. He apparently was attending his own birthday party at a nightclub.
Vargas is also wanted by the U.S. government for smuggling and trafficking large quantities of marijuana into the U.S.
La Familia Michoacana expanded its operations into the following Mexican states, Guanajuato, Mexico, Guerrero, Colima, Jalisco, Baja California, and Tamaulipas. Vargas and La Familia took over the following cities and townships of Uruapan, Apatzingán, Los Reyes, La Ruana, Buenavista, Tancítaro, Sahuayo, Peribán and Cotíja in Michoacan.
In January 2011, La Familia split up into two separate groups. Vargas remained the leader of La Familia and Enrique Plancarte Solis and Servantes Gómez Martínez, aka, "La Tuta" began Los Caballeros de Templarios, which ignited a drug war between them.
On May 27, 2011, Federal Police arrested 40 members of La Familia, including five leaders in Las Lomas, Jalisco. Information taken from the suspects led to the arrest of Vargas. Vargas admitted to Federal Police that he arranged a meeting with the leaders of Los Zetas and resulted in an alliance between both groups. Los Zeta agreed to send 200 Zetas to Michoacan to help La Familia regain control of the state from Los Caballeros Templarios, according to the Federal Police report.
The Federal Police confiscated two vehicles, two handguns, two grenades, a 9mm automatic UZI, communication equipment and various documents.

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