Reporting on the Mexican Cartel Drug War

"Divine Justice" La Familia Michoacana

Monday, June 21, 2010 |

Uruapan, Michoacan
October 2006

In an incident that shocks Mexico to its core, an armed group of men forces it’s way into a disco and throws 5 human heads of petty criminals onto the dance floor.

"La Familia no mata por paga, no mata mujeres, no mata inocentes. Sólo muere quien debe morir. Sépanlo toda la gente: esto es justicia divina". Is the “narcomensaje”, the posterboard message left by the gunmen.

“The family does not kill for pay, it does not kill women or innocents. Only those who deserve to die will die. Everybody understand: this is divine justice.”

A new kind of drug cartel introduces itself on that day. A cartel whose ultimate goal is to set the moral compass for society and replace the state within its territory.

Weeks later, in November 2006, La Familia paid for advertisements in the newspapers of Morelia, the state capital, directed at the population of Michoacan.

The ads read "we are a company whose mission is to eradicate in the state of Michoacan the sale of ice (methamphetamine), kidnapping, extorsion of all types and murder for hire". It also asked all family men to reflect, with Bible in hand, on joining the company.

In 2006 decapitation of organized crime murder victims was a very rare occurrence. Today the decapitation of victims is a common form of expression practiced by organized crime in Mexico.

Washington D.C.
October 2009

Attorney General Eric Holder and DEA, ATF, and FBI officials announce “Project Coronado”, an operation that ultimately results in 1,186 arrests, and the seizure of approximately $33 million in U.S. currency, 1,999 kilograms of cocaine, 2,730 pounds of methamphetamine, 29 pounds of heroin, 16,390 pounds of marijuana, 389 weapons, 269 vehicles, and two clandestine drug labs.

“Project Coronado, our massive assault on the La Familia Cartel, is part of our continued fight against all of the powerful Mexico-based drug cartels,” said DEA Acting Administrator Michele M. Leonhart. “This organization, the newest of Mexican cartels, is directly responsible for a vast majority of the methamphetamine pouring into our country across our Southwest Border, and has had a hand in fueling the cycle of violence that is wracking Mexico today.”

"This unprecedented, coordinated U.S. law enforcement action - the largest ever undertaken against a Mexican drug cartel - has dealt a significant blow to La Familia’s supply chain of illegal drugs, weapons, and cash flowing between Mexico and the United States,” said Attorney General Holder. “We will not allow these cartels to operate unfettered in our country, and with the increases in cooperation between U.S. and Mexican authorities in recent years, we are taking the fight to our adversaries.”

Michoacan is one of the most impoverished states in Mexico. Tens of thousands of its citizens have emigrated to the U.S. in search of the opportunity for a better life. Hundreds of these men and women have replaced those arrested in Project Coronado.

Although by some estimates drug seizures in the U.S. and Mexico now account for 30 percent of all cartel inventory, the supply of drugs on the streets of both countries has remained constant. Put more bluntly, in most of our large cities cocaine, marijuana, heroin and methamphetamine can be obtained within 15 to 30 minutes by drug users.

In 2010, La Familia still has the firepower, manpower and logistical support to wage war as witnessed by the murder of 12 federal police in Zitacuaro, Michoacan last week and the execution of countless rival criminals in Guerrero, the state of Mexico, parts of Jalisco, Guanajuato and now Nuevo Leon, Tamaulipas and Coahuila as La Familia extends it’s territory.

















Zaragoza, Coahuila
May 2010

An eyewitness account from the town of Zaragoza, Coahuila, 15 miles from the site where a Canadian citizen was murdered earlier this month., speaks to the presence of “La Gente Nueva”.

“La Gente Nueva” (the New People) is a pseudonym for gunmen belonging to La Familia Michoacana brought to Northeastern Mexico in an alliance with the Gulf cartel to fight Los Zetas and gain control of drug trafficking into Texas.

“La gente nueva, pinches indios del sur, llegaron y lincharon 4 Zetas. Venian a limpiar pero son la misma mierda. Entran a las tiendas y carnicerias y agarran todo sin pagar. Siguen las extorciones y robos. Les ves los ojos, sin alma.”

“The New People, damn Indians from the south (southern Mexico). They got here and lynched 4 Zetas. They came to get rid of the scum but they’re the same. They help themselves to everything in the stores and meat market without paying. The extortions and robberies have continued. You look in their eyes, they have no soul."

The mission of La Familia in northeastern Mexico (Nuevo Leon, Tamaulipas, Coahuila) is not to set the moral compass. It is to butcher all enemies and extract tribute from the population.

It is what the Aztecs, Indians from the south, were doing to their neighbors more than 500 years ago.















Morelia, Michoacan
September 2008

In Morelia on September 15, 2008, a large gathering of citizens celebrating Mexico’s independence day was attacked by a group of Zeta criminals with hand grenades. Eight innocent civilians were killed and up to 100 were injured.

The La Familia “narcomantas” appeared promptly with messages of support and defense of community and family and religious symbolism based on their ideology.

The messages read “we share the grief felt by our countrymen, innocent people who do not have the need to live with terrorism caused by the Zetas”.

Their ideology is based on religion and community self defense. Some authorities consider La Familia an extremely violent cult.

Several members of La Familia’s leadership belong to fundamentalist religious societies and interpret in their own way biblical passages and religious principles. John Eldredge, a Christian activist and his views on Christian masculinity and focus on warfare and violence are a strong influence on La Familia. His book “Wild at Heart” is also influential within the cartel.

Members of La Familia are heavily indoctrinated and consumption of drugs and alcohol are prohibited.

La Familia has built a loyal social base in it’s home territory which helps the needy, promoting social values such as family togetherness, employment and economic welfare. Many small municipalities have no health or education infrastructure and La Familia purchases their loyalty and, in effect, replaces the state by providing health clinics and schools. Even state of the art irrigation systems are provided.

In addition to drug trafficking, La familia controls the piracy market. They also invest in real estate, restaurants, nightclubs, discos and legitimate businesses. It is estimated that up to 85 percent of the economy in Michoacan has some ties to La Familia.

The extreme violence practiced by La Familia is a form of psychological terror used to intimidate the authorities and public servants. Up to 60 percent of the mayors and local law enforcement in Michoacan are under the control of this organization

In the hypocrisy of their worldview the defense of society, business owners, employers, farmers and ranchers occurs through the collection of protection fees. This fee ensures that the payer and his business or family will not be attacked. Otherwise they are kidnapped or executed.

La Familia is today the most belligerent force fighting the authority of the State in Mexico. It is also one of the most powerful and violent of the drug cartels, second maybe only to Los Zetas in it’s use of terror against it’s rivals and the population.

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15 Borderland Beat Comments:

Anonymous said...

La Familia is in some ways more creepy than the Zetas with their crazy religious ideology. I would like to get a hold of "El mas Loco's" book, be interested in reading what he said.

Anonymous said...

the cartels in mexico are beginning to sound exactly like muslim extremists

they interpret religion in a way that terror sounds practical to them

Anonymous said...

but then again...isn't religion downright terrifying already? i don't how you feel about it, but all this talk about some character known as God will come and release plagues on "his creation" or "his children". Cattle disease, boils, gnats, flies, awful things will happen to people.

Anonymous said...

The insanity of ignorance so La Familia is going to enforce fundamentalist christianity their killing bombing stealing protection kidnapping dope dealing is divinely inspired?? Mexico turned a blind eye for 100yrs took the money after all the gringo was the chump,well look who is paying the price the entire country of Mx

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, You have a lot of addictions and you are afraid to beleive that there is a god, but then again you are only human. you probably want as much as you can have in this life and you really dont care who step on to get it. Religion yes can be be deceiving, good Muslims are not violent. All relions have a violent side.Relgion is man made, Jesus is God made. Oh by the way... God is terrifying. And if you are an evil person you will find out. I was born into the catholic relion, what a joke.
Does your mother feel the same way as you do? I dont think so. dont forget we are not perfect and we do things that we regret later.

Peace out brother. May the good people in Mexico
find peace in their familes. Benjammin

Anonymous said...

When the goverment fails the people the strong ones take action. fight for your right.
Benjammin

Anonymous said...

El intento aqui de La Familia (Satanica criminal) es tratar de pintarse con una nueva definicion a la empresa criminal que ellos llevan acabo, como una lucha entre el bien y el mal y como lucha entre el bien y el mal, ellos se quieren poner como el protagonista "El Santo" Esto es propaganda calculada con intencion dirigido al pueblo sencillo local - quieren que el pueblo los miren (todas sus actividades criminales)en buena luz.
!! Ay de los que a lo malo dicen bueno, y a lo bueno malo; que hacen de la luz tinieblas, y de las tinieblas luz; que ponen lo amargo por dulce, y lo dulce por amargo! (Isaias 5:20)

Anonymous said...

Regarding the "Divine justice" piece with photos; despite this being old news, I had never seen the horrible photo of the disco floor. Was that photo published in newspapers in Mexico? I can't imagine how the people in the disco dealt with that... I think I would have thrown up and then fainted.

Anonymous said...

Well all I have to say is in the united states there are people who think they know it all with there police force acting like criminals,and all the lies and fake promises at least in Mexico there real about what there doing and people think there crazy! Look everyone!here in the u.s. people do things like that.It's same as over in Mexico It's just that we never see our problems rite?we always look at someone else's .Well maybe if we mined our own and didn't have all the dope users being American the dope wouldn't be here!!ok people!!open your eyes American people your kids,wife's and even fathers are users so don't cry over spilt milk!clean up your streets before you start pointing fingers look at the map up above It's all here and read the article members don't use or drink.but we as Americans do!and we are better than everyone rite? NO!!We just like to think that a lil stolen land we did steal from god only knows who?and made it America by using slaves and putting Indians in camps and stealing from the Mexicans,and we call them wetbacks if anything we are! We crossed the ocean in boats they lived here read your history people and relize we the people are worst than them look at our own history and I didn't write it..bottom line is respect one of the oldest empires in the west region Mexico they were here before us and by the looks of it they're taking it back by using power and murder just like we did a long time ago.la familia is standing there ground that takes balls so if the kkk and the black panthers have followers so should they you don't see them holding it down like them??do you??

Anonymous said...

actually there is new archeological evidence that the eastern part of canada and USA were settled by europeans thousands of years before the people who crossed the bering strait from asia,,,so when their descendants returned , it was just a reconquista

Anonymous said...

Eastern part not the west Mr. Reconquista the mexica Indians ruled the west look that up. There was no other empire in the west but them

MESSENGER FROM GOD said...

...k es su problema? ....SENOR BOCA GRANDE....YO DICE LA PARTE ORIENTE ...TE TIENES UN PROBLEMA CON SU OJOS...NO REFRENCIA A DE PARTE OCCIDENTAL DE EUA.....ESTA FUE TODO MIGRANTES DE ASIA...

what is your problem?.... Mr. big mouth...i said the eastern part... no reference to the west part of the USA...IT WAS ALL MIGRANTS FROM ASIA...

but even these indians were not part of some great mexican indio empire , they were all independant tribe , with their own culture and languages ...i had a navaho indian tell me , that his ancestors used to eat indios from across the river...even the great Sioux tribe came from what is now called minnisota, on the move from the Hurons , i think...but any way what is your point ...some rascist shit that white people don't belong on this continent or something....jaysus go back to africa with that shit...the earth is round ...people have legs..they travel and migrate...no group has any more right to any part of the earth than another ...all down history "stronger" groups have displaced "weaker" groups ...look at the crazy fukn aztecs ...where did they get their empire ?...and it wasn't cortez and 700 spanish that defeated them...that is ridiculous...it was the spanish and several thousand other indio tribes...what is your point anyway?...we all belong on earth where ever we can be ...we have no other place to go...and it is simple minded shit like , this is my land, that keeps wars an shit goin.... (EL VOZ DE DIOS AQUI)...SHARE THE FUKN EARTH YOU ESTUPIDO HUMAN PENDEJOS...I PLANTED YOU A GARDEN TO LIVE IN...QUIT KILLING THE ANIMALS I MADE TO TEND IT ...EAT THE FRUIT AND VEGETABLES...SHIT IN THE GROUND ...IT SPREADS THE SEEDS....ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS GET ALONG, MIGRATE, BREED, MULTIPLY, PROSPER ....YOU KNOW , EAT, FUCK, TRAVEL, SWIM, SUNTAN, HAVE FUN.... AND LEAVE ME THE HELL ALONE CON SU PROBLEMAS PEQUENAS...I GAVE YOU SIMPLE INSTRUCTIONS....WHAT ELSE DO YOU NEED?....ok anymore questions?

Anonymous said...

la familia

Anonymous said...

They can pray and pray as many rosary beads as they want till they turn purple ! BUT WILL GOD LISTEN ? NO ! NEVER ! THERE IS A SIGN UP AHEAD ONCE THEY DIE THAT READS " WELCOME , ALL YOU HAVE NOW CROSSED OVER TO HELL ! ENJOY YOUR STAY . WITH FIREY REGARDS SATAN !

Anonymous said...

Every fucking carte like the familia Michoacán los zeta and the others need to stop the killing innecent people for one and two all thos fucking loser need to get a fucking real honest Job stop taking money from the poor. Leaving children without fathers, wifes without husbands, parents Crying over their children's murder. If you all want to make a differents in the world then yes teach a lession to the dishonest corrupt government that's runs our country those should the people you all should attacking not the gente del pueblo Mexicano. And in the bible it doesn't state its ok to kill people with guns and the worse things all do is sell drugs which introduce people into addictions . I believe in God the only why I would wish all paid for what your putting those family members pain and sorrow that all put the
By murdering one of their family members. Manybof you all have brothers sisters mothe fathers cousins aunts uncles and friends and one day you can see how it hurt lossing them over some some stupid mothers that play to be god. I hope you all burn in hell and if I had that choice I would person made everyone of you all pay in the worse way possible I wouldnt let you all take the easy ways out fuckers

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