HomeMexicoJosé Jesús Méndez Vargas, alias 'El Chango'
MEXICO

José Jesús Méndez Vargas, alias 'El Chango'

EL CHANGO / LATEST UPDATE 2017-03-10 00:07:05 EN

Jose Jesus Mendez Vargas, alias "El Chango," was a leading figure in the Familia Michoana and considered to be the right hand man of the head of the Familia council Nazario Moreno, alias "El Mas Loco," or "El Chayo." El Chango was arrested June 21, 2011.

History

Believed to be a former operative for the Gulf Cartel, El Chango coordinated the Familia Michoacana’s methamphetamine and cocaine trafficking. His security detail was known as the "Twelve Apostles," another nod to the Familia Michoana's twisted religious ideology. Recruits to the Familia reportedly had to study El Chango's teachings, which include interpretations of Biblical stories, as an initiation ritual.

El Chango Factbox

DOB: February 28, 1974

Group: Familia Michoacana

Criminal Activities: Methamphetamine and cocaine trafficking, extortion, kidnapping

Status: Captured

Area of Operation: Michoacan, Mexico

The Mexican government had offered a 30 million peso reward (about $2.3 million) reward for his capture, alongside a 2 million peso reward (about $160,000) for intelligence about his whereabouts. He had previously been targeted by the Zetas in assassination attempts, allegedly for trying to create a Familia cell in Mexico City in 2008.

In June 2011, Mexican federal police arrested El Chango in the central state of Aguascalientes. His arrest led authorities to state the last remaining elements of Familia Michoacana's command structure had been destroyed.

Criminal Activities

Prior to his arrest, El Chango was in charge of methamphetamine and cocaine trafficking for Familia Michoacana. El Chango is also reportedly accused by Mexican authorities of committing kidnapping and extortion.

Geography

The Familia Michoacana originated in Michoacan, which would continue to be its base of operations. However, the group would eventually expand into nearby regions, including Mexico state.

Allies and Enemies

Following the death of El Chayo in December 2010, El Chango began feuding with Servando Gomez Martinez, alias "La Tuta." El Chango remained with the Familia's old guard, while La Tuta formed his own faction, dubbed the Caballeros Templarios (Knights Templar), in March 2011. The two rival cells battled fiercely in Michoacan, reportedly causing El Chango to seek aid from the Familia's former bitter rivals, the Zetas.

Prospects

In April 2014, a Mexican court rejected El Chango's appeal for an “amparo” – which is similar to an injunction – that would stall his extradition to the United States. El Chango is wanted by the Southern District of New York on charges of methamphetamine and cocaine trafficking.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

LA FAMILIA MICHOACANA / 11 DEC 2010

The Familia Michoacana -- the criminal syndicate whose battles this week with authorities in their western stronghold from which…

LA FAMILIA MICHOACANA / 2 MAR 2012

El Universal reports on the emergence in Mexico City of thugs-for-hire who impersonate cartel members in order to intimidate their…

BELTRAN LEYVA ORG / 25 SEP 2013

It is tempting to separate Mexico's drug cartels into six hierarchical groups, each competing for trafficking turf. The reality, however,…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Who Are Memo Fantasma and Sergio Roberto de Carvalho?

24 JUN 2022

Inside the criminal career of Memo Fantasma  In March 2020, InSight Crime revealed the identity and whereabouts of Memo Fantasma, a paramilitary commander and drug trafficker living in…

THE ORGANIZATION

Environmental and Academic Praise

17 JUN 2022

InSight Crime’s six-part series on the plunder of the Peruvian Amazon continues to inform the debate on environmental security in the region. Our Environmental Crimes Project Manager, María Fernanda Ramírez,…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Series on Plunder of Peru’s Amazon Makes Headlines

10 JUN 2022

Since launching on June 2, InSight Crime’s six-part series on environmental crime in Peru’s Amazon has been well-received. Detailing the shocking impunity enjoyed by those plundering the rainforest, the investigation…

THE ORGANIZATION

Duarte’s Death Makes Waves

3 JUN 2022

The announcement of the death of Gentil Duarte, one of the top dissident commanders of the defunct Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), continues to reverberate in Venezuela and Colombia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Cattle Trafficking Acclaim, Investigation into Peru’s Amazon 

27 MAY 2022

On May 18, InSight Crime launched its most recent investigation into cattle trafficking between Central America and Mexico. It showed precisely how beef, illicitly produced in Honduras, Guatemala…