Mexico City – A Los Caballeros Templarios drug cartel boss in Morelia, the capital of the western Mexican state of Michoacan, was arrested by the Federal Police in connection with 21 murders, kidnappings and extortion, the Public Safety Secretariat said.
Bulmaro Salinas Muñoz was arrested on Saturday within the city limits of Morelia.
The 33-year-old Salinas Muñoz has been linked to the April 24, 2010, attack on former Michoacan Public Safety Secretary Minerva Bautista Gomez, the secretariat said.
Salinas Muñoz was also wanted for the kidnapping of a state police officer on March 31 and the kidnap-murders of 21 people on June 8 on the road from Morelia to the city of Quiroga, the secretariat said.
A woman, identified as Maria Trinidad Benitez Maya, was arrested along with Salinas Muñoz, and the two suspects were handed over to prosecutors.
Officers seized a 9 mm submachine gun, 25 rounds of 9mm ammunition, a grenade, crack cocaine, communications equipment and a vehicle in the operation to arrest Salinas Muñoz.
Los Caballeros Templarios is a gang made up of former members of La Familia Michoacana, which mainly smuggles synthetic drugs into the United States.
La Familia has been severely weakened in recent months by infighting and government operations targeting the gang.
Michoacan has been experiencing a wave of drug-related violence blamed on the break-up of La Familia, which was considered one of Mexico's most powerful drug cartels.
The La Familia faction led by Jesus Mendez, who was arrested last month, has been fighting the group led by Servando Gomez and Enrique Plancarte, who formed Los Caballeros Templarios in March.
The cartel began unraveling after Moreno's death, officials and analysts say.
Moreno, known as "El Chayo" and considered La Familia Michoacana's ideological leader, was killed in a shootout with Federal Police in December 2010.
Los Caballeros Templarios, like La Familia, requires members to adhere to a code of conduct and portrays itself as working for the good of the community despite its criminal activities.
Michoacan is on Mexico's Pacific coast, which is used by smugglers to bring drugs into the country.
The drugs are then smuggled via the Pacific corridor or through central Mexico into the United States, the world's largest consumer of illegal drugs.