A Federal Police operation against La Familia Michoacán which left 11 dead and 36 detained, has provided insight into La Familia Michoacan and Los Caballeros Templarios.
Per PF General Commissioner Facundo Rosas, the operation was in response to a PF helicopter attack on Tuesday, May 24th, in Tierra Caliente. The operation resulted in the arrest of 36 La Familia members, 11 members killed and two federal police injured. An arsenal of weapons and tactical gear was also seized.
Detained were Gaudiyur Ambriz Altamirano, who is in charge of a group led by José de Jesús Méndez Vargas, aka "El Chango.” César Vargas Valencia, "El Caramelo", and Gerardo Fernández Covarrubias, "El Mofles" were also arrested and identified as group leaders (possibly cell leaders).
The group was discovered in a location in Las Lomas, Jalisco, awaiting instructions from El Chango Mendez, for a plan to attack the group calling themselves ‘Los Caballeros Templarios.’
Since the death of Nazario Moreno Gonzalez, aka “El Chayo,” it was believed that La Familia was crippled and had therefore claimed to have dismantled. According to the detained, as of December 2010 there was actually a rupture within La Familia, and since then a dispute over territory with Los Caballeros.
The breakdown of La Familia occurred when Enrique Plancarte Solis, aka “La Chiva”, and El Chango Mendez, took over leadership after the death of “El Chayo.” El Chango and El Chayo, had long co-headed La Familia Michoacan. La Chiva and El Chango apparently could not see eye to eye.
In December 2010, Enrique Plancarte and Fernando Gomez, aka “La Tuta,” collaborated in forming their own organization “Los Caballeros Templarios,” in opposition to the side of La Familia led by El Chango. Sources report that leaders formerly under the chain of command of El Chango defected to Los Caballeros.
Since the May 24th helicopter shooting in Terra Caliente, several surrounding communities reportedly were evacuated due to ongoing gun battles.
Michoacán has been noted as the state with the most reported Federal Police deaths. La Familia has long declared war on the Federal Police in Michoacán, and has led an ongoing media campaign against their alleged abuse of the people of Michoacán.