Morelia, Mexico – The Federal Police seized 1,000 doses of drugs, firearms, flat screen televisions and minibars at the prisons in Charo and Morelia, the capital of the western Mexican state of Michoacan, officials said.
Federal and state law enforcement agents conducted surprise inspections Saturday at the two prisons, which hold criminals ranging from members of the Los Caballeros Templarios drug cartel to common criminals, Michoacan Public Safety Secretary Elias Alvarez Hernandez told Efe.
Federal Police officers raided the David Franco Rodriguez prison in Charo, a facility considered Michoacan's maximum-security penitentiary, and found that inmate Jesus Zuñiga, who was in charge of drug and alcohol sales, as well as protection rackets, had created a system of self-government for prisoners.
Zuñiga, who was imprisoned for criminal conspiracy and kidnapping, has links to the Los Caballeros Templarios, a gang that supplied him with drugs.
A rifle, pistol, 1,384 doses of various drugs, including marijuana, cocaine and heroin, 133,800 pesos ($10,500) in cash and other items were seized in a cell block.
Officers seized 214 televisions and flat screen televisions, 210 cell phones, 90 blades and other sharp objects, minibars, liquor, home appliances, stereos and microwave ovens, Alvarez said.
Prison officials and guards are being investigated in connection with the seizures of banned items, the Attorney General's Office said.
Los Caballeros Templarios was created in March 2011 by former members of the La Familia Michoacana drug cartel.
Servando Gomez Martinez shares the leadership of Los Caballeros Templarios with Enrique Plancarte.
Police have seized tunics with red crosses on them from Caballeros Templarios members, as well as pamphlets inspired by the Crusades.
La Familia Michoacana, which specializes in smuggling synthetic drugs into the United States, also uses religious symbolism and refers to the killings it commits as "divine justice."