Police Detain Cartel Member Involved in Child Organ-Trafficking Ring

In the western Mexican state of Michoacán, Public Safety Secretary Carlos Castellanos Becerra has detained a key member of the Knights Templar cartel who is suspected of kidnapping children and having their organs removed for trafficking.

Plancarte Gaspar was captured along with another man in a stolen car that was carrying cash and meth. Gaspar was an apparent integral member of the organ trafficking ring.

The ring would kidnap children and take them to rented homes with medical equipment where their organs were removed.

Michoacán is currently the setting for a brutal battle between vigilante fighters, the cartel, and the policing authorities in place, and vigilantes appear to be losing.

Self-defense forces were initially well received by local residents tired of the Knights Templars' extortion, kidnapping and murder, but some businessmen have complained that the armed groups are now extorting them.

Drug trafficking—specifically in crystal meth—is no longer the number one source of income for the Knights Templar cartel. According to Mexican officials, the cartel now funds itself through "illegal mining, illegal logging, and extortion." No word on where the harvesting of children's organs fits on that list.

[Image via AP]