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Familia Michoacana

At the height of its power, the Familia Michoacana’s brutal tactics, strong base of operations and pseudo-religious ideology made it a formidable operation and a point of fascination for outsiders. However, the group has suffered a series of heavy blows, most notably that of leader Nazario Moreno Gonzalez, alias "El Chayo," who was falsely reported killed…

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Latest News

HOMICIDES / 24 MAR 2021

A bloody ambush on a police unit in the state of Mexico, in which thirteen officials were shot dead, is…

COVID AND CRIME / 28 APR 2020

Recent cases of criminal groups distributing supplies in Mexico suggest that the coronavirus pandemic has presented an opportunity to cultivate…

JALISCO CARTEL / 5 JUN 2019

Mexico's controversial National Guard has been deployed to some of the country’s most violent states, but the southern state of…

KNIGHTS TEMPLAR / 18 FEB 2019

It’s 7 pm on a Sunday, and night is falling in this Michoacán town. The heat of the day is…

KNIGHTS TEMPLAR / 17 JAN 2017

A new collection of essays tackles patterns of cultish behavior and ritualized violence among illegal groups across the globe, from…

BELTRAN LEYVA ORG / 16 DEC 2016

A vigilante militia has become involved in a hostage standoff with an organized crime network in southwest Mexico, as the…

Key Actors

Servando Gomez Martinez, alias ‘La Tuta’

MEXICO / 2017-03-09 23:49:35

Servando Gomez Martinez, alias "La Tuta," was a former high-ranking member of the Familia Michoacana, who split from the group following the supposed death of top commander Nazario Moreno Gonzalez,…

José Jesús Méndez Vargas, alias ‘El Chango’

MEXICO / 2017-03-10 00:07:05

José Jesús Méndez Vargas, alias “El Chango”, fue una figura clave del grupo criminal mexicano La Familia Michoacana, y era considerado la mano derecha del líder del grupo, Nazario Moreno,…

Nazario Moreno Gonzalez, alias ‘El Chayo’

MEXICO / JULY 24, 2019

Nazario Moreno Gonzalez, alias "El Chayo" or "The Craziest One" (El Mas Loco) was a founding member of the Familia Michoacana and later a leader of the Knights Templar…

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InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

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InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

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InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…

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