"These guys have a way of coming back to life" - Michoacán militia leader
Enrique "Kike" Plancarte (left) and Servando Gómez, a/k/a "La Tuta" . . . one down, one to go
Federal security forces yesterday killed Enrique "Kike" Plancarte, one of two remaining leaders of Michoacán's vicious Los Caballeros Templarios drug cartel. The 43 year old organized crime boss was said to be the Templarios' financial manager.
Plancarte was tracked to a town in Colón county in the central Mexican state of Querétaro. Soldiers surrounded the neighborhood where he lived, which the government said provoked a 24 hour standoff. Plancarte was killed during a gun battle with the federal units at about 7:00 p.m. Monday. At least 200 marines assisted by helicopters participated in the operation. Plancarte was shot seven times, and died at the scene. Mexico had offered a 10 million peso reward ($769,000 USD) for his capture.
His death marks the Peña Nieto administration's second major victory against the Templarios in less than a month. On Mar. 9 Nazario Moreno, known as "El Chayo" (the "Craziest One") died in a firefight with security forces after refusing to surrender. Moreno is regarded as the founder of the Caballeros Templarios and its predecessor, La Familia Michoacana. The administration of former PAN president Felipe Calderón Hinojosa erroneously reported in December 2010 that it had eliminated him, earning Moreno the moniker of the narco who died twice.
Although national security officials this morning confirmed Enrique Plancarte's identity, local militias in Michoacán have demanded DNA testing. Referring to Moreno's case, autodefensas leader José Manuel Mireles said in a radio interview today, "We insist on verification, since these guys have a way of coming back to life."
Two weeks ago Mireles said that Michoacán's dozens of citizen militias have no intention of laying down their arms or yielding to regular law enforcement units. Defiant civilian militias announce rupture with Mexico City. Today he noted, "We're still short La Tuta," referring to Servando Gómez, now the most sought Templarios boss. There is a 30 million peso ($2.3 million USD) price tag on his head.
At the post date of this story, Michoacán autodefensas were said to be operating in at least 93 towns in 44 of the troubled state's 113 counties. But that number has now been reduced. The Rural Defense Force, to the rescue in Michoacán
Feb. 17 - Mexican armed forces remain at the vanguard of the drug war
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