Police nab cartel member in organ trafficking case
MEXICO CITY (AP) — Police in Mexico’s western state of Michoacan detained an alleged member of the Knights Templar cartel, saying he is suspected of trafficking organs.
Michoacan state Public Safety Secretary Carlos Castellanos Becerra alleged that Manuel Plancarte Gaspar was part of a cartel ring that would target people with certain characteristics, especially children, for kidnapping and harvesting organs.
He did not give any specifics or present cases. He said investigators are looking into alleged cases that occurred in previous years.
“We have several statements in open investigations,” Castellenos said at a news conference Monday.
Plancarte Gaspar, 34, was detained last week along with another suspect in a stolen car. The men were carrying cash and crystal meth, Castellanos Becerra said. He said Plancarte Gaspar is the nephew of Enrique Plancarte Solis, a top Knights Templar leader.
The federal government generally handles cases of trafficking that have to do with cartels, such as drugs and in the case of the Knights Templar, iron ore.
Federal officials were not immediately available for comment Monday, which was a holiday in Mexico.
Mexican authorities have said drug trafficking is no longer the top source of income for the Knights Templar, which was once a top producer of crystal meth. The officials say the cartel’s main sources of income are illegal mining, illegal logging and extortion.