Mexico captures senior cartel boss in area controlled by vigilantes

Mexico said on Monday it had captured a leader of the Knights Templar, a violent drug cartel that has created a major security problem for President Enrique Pena Nieto.

The attorney general's office said security forces arrested Dionisio Loya Plancarte, known as "El Tio" ('The Uncle'), a top member of the Knights Templar, which has clashed with vigilante groups in the western state of Michoacan this year.

He is the most senior member of the gang to be arrested.

The Knights emerged from a split in another cartel in Michoacan known as La Familia and have controlled large swaths of the restive mountainous state in recent years, extorting farmers and local businesses and diversifying away from drug trafficking to activities such as mining.

Plancarte is suspected of being the gang's go-between with corrupt security and justice officials, the attorney general's office said.

Mexico's government, which this month replaced top security officials in Michoacan, had offered a 30 million peso ($2.25 million) reward for information leading to Plancarte's arrest.

The Knights' confrontations in January with heavily armed vigilantes in Michoacan have stirred concerns about Pena Nieto's strategy to combat widespread lawlessness in Mexico.
Mexico needs to be working with the vigilantes in counterinsurgency operations against the criminal insurgency in the country.  The vigilantes took action to protect the people and when that happens you can get intelligence on where the bad guys are located.  BTW, many of the vigilantes were deported from the US.

The LA Times reports the Mexican government is finally wising up:
The government decides to co-opt rather than confront the 'self-defense' groups that sprang up to oppose drug cartels.
It is a sound way to protect the people and defeat the criminal insurgency.


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