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Knights Templar leader reported dead

March 19, 2013

The Mexican Army is believed to have killed one of the country’s most wanted drug lords near the town of El Alcalde, Michoacan in the early hours of Friday morning.

Spanish-language magazine Proceso reports that Dionisio Loya Plancarte, alias “El Tio,” is thought to have been one of five people killed in a confrontation between soldiers and armed gangs members in the mountainous municipality of Apatzingan, a known stronghold of the Knights Templar cartel.

Loya was a former leader of La Familia Michoacana and later became a high-ranking leader of offshoot gang the Knights Templar.  In 2009 the Mexican government listed him as one of the country’s 37 most wanted drug lords, offering a reward of 30 million pesos for information leading to his arrest.

The government has not publicly commented on the case but anonymous sources from the federal government and the Michoacan state police apparently confirmed Loya’s death to a reporter from the Narco Mundo blog. Loya’s death would mean at least 26 of Mexico’s 37 most wanted criminals have been killed or detained to date.

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