05/30/11— Mexican police say they killed 11 suspected members of the La Familia Michoacana cartel during a shootout in the western portion of the state of Jalisco. The 11 members were killed during a police raid that was planned after police received news that some of the cartels members were meeting at a ranch in Jilotlán de los Dolores. Federal Police commissioner Facundo Rosas stated that the gathered cartel members were waiting to hear word from their bosses about a planned attack on a rival group, Knights Templar. He noted that the Knights Templar is a splinter group of La Familia that fractured after the death of La Familia’s leader, Nazario Moreno, who was killed by Mexican authorities in December 2010. Knights Templar is allegedly headed by Servando Gómez, alias La Tuta. In-Sight has accused the two groups of fighting for control of a “lucrative methamphetamine cooridor.”
The police also arrested 36 suspected La Familia cartel members, including three of the top cartel leaders, and seized numerous weapons and pistols which were adorned with gold, silver, and jewels, as well as bullet proof vests and rounds of ammunition. During the raid, two of the Mexican police officers were injured.
The police have stated that they think these arrests will weaken the La Familia cartel, which is known in Mexico to be one of the most violent cartels although it has also insisted on maintaining a reputation of protecting local communities and instilling family values. BBC News stated that fighting between the La Familia cartel has created harsh living conditions for the communities near the fighting zones and has “displaced at least 2,000 people from their homes” in just this past week.