'Dead' Mexican drug kingpin likely killed in shootout
A Mexican drug lord who was reported dead more than three years ago was likely killed in a shootout in western Mexico today, a government official said.
Nazario Moreno, a leader of a powerful criminal gang that has ravaged the western state of Michoacan, was reported killed by the government in a firefight in December 2010. But his body was never recovered and he was widely believed to be alive.
Authorities were checking on reports that Moreno was shot dead during a gunfight in Michoacan, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
"Everything suggests, to a degree of certainty of around 98 percent, that it is this man (Moreno)," the official said.
A government security spokesman said federal forces were involved in the exchange of fire but could not confirm Moreno had been killed. A spokeswoman for the state government of Michoacan also said there was no confirmation yet.
Moreno was a leader of a drug cartel known as La Familia, which fractured after his reported demise. Moreno's allies formed the most powerful faction of La Familia, and renamed themselves the Knights Templar after a medieval military order.
The Knights Templar had much of Michoacan under its control until local vigilante groups rose up against them at the start of this year and began to overrun the gang's strongholds.