MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Prosecutors are holding the mayor of one of Mexico’s main port cities for questioning over allegations he took part in kidnapping and extortion, the latest step in a government crackdown on organized crime in the western region.
Arquimides Oseguera, mayor of the Pacific port of Lazaro Cardenas in the state of Michoacan, was detained early yesterday, the government said in a statement as it began to register and disarm vigilante groups that have worked with authorities to restore order. The statement said Oseguera was also to be questioned about suspected ties to the local boss of organized crime in the city.
The mayor’s office in Lazaro Cardenas, Mexico’s biggest port by tonnage of cargo shipped, could not immediately be reached for comment.
Until earlier this year, large parts of Michoacan were controlled by a drug gang known as the Knights Templar, which ran a host of criminal interests including the exportation of iron ore from the state to China.
In January, the federal government sent reinforcements into Michoacan and began cooperating with vigilantes to root out the Knights Templar. Since then, most of the gang’s senior leadership has been captured or killed. The gang’s frontman, former school teacher Servando Gomez, remains at large.