Prosecutors in western Mexico arrested the mayor of a city that once served as a stronghold of the Knights Templar drug cartel on charges that he helped the gang extort money from city council members.
Prosecutors in Michoacan state said late Tuesday that they arrested Uriel Chavez Mendoza, the mayor of Apatzingan, after three city council members claimed he forced them to gather in a rural area, where cartel gunmen demanded each hand over 20,000 pesos (about $1,500). The gunmen allegedly said the money was to buy weapons.
The meeting was held in January 2012, when the cartel was at the height of its power, according to prosecutors.
The “self-defense” vigilante movement that sprang up last year to fight the cartel had long claimed the Knights Templar controlled, or extorted money from, municipal governments in the western, largely agricultural state.