, MORELIA, Dec 6 – Mexican authorities arrested the uncle of one of the country’s most notorious and most wanted drug lords, the head of the Knights Templar cartel, officials said Friday.
Gerardo Martinez, 53, the uncle of Servando “La Tuta” Gomez, was arrested as he left a building believed to be owned by his drug kingpin nephew and used for illegal activities, said Magdalena Guzman, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor’s office in the southwestern state of Michoacan.
Martinez “was arrested as he left a property (that is) related to various illegal activities,” Guzman told AFP.
She said authorities seized a cellphone from Martinez which they suspect he used to inform cartel members of police movements.
His nephew Gomez, one of Mexico’s most wanted men, is believed to be in hiding in the violence-wracked Michoacan state that is known for its marijuana and poppy production, and has fuelled gang activity in the region as cartels vie for their share of goods.
The Knights Templar cartel is active in the region, though it began to weaken last year when farmers, fed up with years of violence, formed vigilante forces.
The federal government has deployed thousands of troops to the region and killed or captured most of the cartel’s leadership, leaving the elusive Gomez as the sole remaining chief.
In September, Gomez’s brother apparently killed himself with a gun when police surrounded him in an apartment in Michoacan.