Edmonton

Members of Mexican La Familia drug cartel arrested in Edmonton

Officers in Alberta have arrested several members of the La Familia gang allegedly connected to Mexican drug cartels.

ALERT will hold a news conference to discuss the arrests on Wednesday

La Familia, which has connections with the Mara Salvatrucha gang, is believed to be trying to gain control of the drug trade in Alberta 2:28

Officers in Alberta have arrested several members of the La Familia gang allegedly connected to Mexican drug cartels.

The arrests were made following an investigation by the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team (ALERT), which is made up of police teams who focus on serious and organized crime, typically involving gangs, drug trafficking and child exploitation.

According to a statement released Tuesday, La Familia, which also has connections with the Mara Salvatrucha gang, is believed to be trying to gain control of the drug trade in Alberta.

ALERT has scheduled a news conference to discuss its findings on Wednesday at 11:30 a.m.

The Familia cartel is based in the western state of Michoacan. Much of its power has recently been usurped in Mexico by one of its splinter factions, the Knights Templar, or Caballeros Templarios.

Most of its leaders crossed over to the new group, leaving La Familia a shadow of its former self. The original cartel was known for its bizarre brand of cult-like religious ideology. It began as an anti-drug vigilante group before moving into the drug trade itself, famously signalling its entry into the business in 2006 by throwing five severed heads onto a nightclub floor.

Its fight with the Zetas over territory is what set off the government crackdown against the cartels in 2006. It was the main supplier of methamphetamine before its charismatic leader, Nazario Moreno González, known as El Mas Loco ("the Craziest One"), was killed by police in December 2010.

Following his death, the group split into two factions, the Knights Templar and a weaker splinter group that retained the Familia name.

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