The Mexican government has been tearing through its list of most-wanted drug lords, but no one expects drug trafficking or violence to drop after the capture of Servando “La Tuta” Gomez, a former grade-school teacher whose Knights Templar cartel once terrorized the western state of Michoacan, the Associated Press reports. Crime will shift around as the now-weakened cartel regroups, or even splinters, as has happened with some Mexican drug gangs after the killings or capture of top leaders.
“Dismantling them was a necessary step, but that does not end the problem of insecurity,” Alejandro Hope, a Mexico City security analyst, said of the Knights Templar. “The next part is more complicated. There are still small groups, remnants, which will be extorting, robbing and perhaps even producing methamphetamine.” Gomez, 49, was arrested Friday as he left a house in Morelia, the capital of Michoacan, with eight bodyguards and associates toting a grenade launcher, three grenades, an Uzi machine pistol and assault rifles, National Security Commissioner Monte Alejandro Rubido said. He said the key break came when agents identified one of Gomez’s most-trusted messengers who helped provide him food, clothing and medicine when he hid in remote mountains.