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Mexican Drug Lord Shot Dead ... For Second Time

Nazario Moreno Gonzalez, in an image from one of the quasi-religious books his cartel distributed.
Heriberto Rodriguez
Nazario Moreno Gonzalez, in an image from one of the quasi-religious books his cartel distributed.

Nazario Moreno Gonzalez, one of Mexico's reputed drug lords, has now been killed twice.

Well, perhaps we should say that he's been declared dead for the second time.

The head of "the cultlike, pseudo-Christian La Familia cartel" was supposedly killed back in December 2010 during a two-day shootout with police.

But on Sunday, Mexican authorities announced they'd killed him again. At the same time, CNN says, they "revealed a surprising twist ... announcing the 2010 report of his death was inaccurate."

As theLos Angeles Times notes, Moreno's body wasn't recovered in 2010 and many Mexicans doubted he was really dead. It seems they were right to be skeptical. According to the Times:

"On Sunday, the federal government again announced that it had killed Moreno, this time in a Sunday morning shootout in Michoacan. And this time, officials said, they have a body, and the fingerprints, to prove it. ...

"The killing of Moreno — if he is really dead this time — is another high-profile victory in the drug war for the administration of President Enrique Peña Nieto, who took office in December 2012 promising to fight the cartels in a smarter and more efficient manner."

From Mexico City, NPR's Carrie Kahn adds that after Moreno's first "death," his cartel morphed into the Knights Templar, named after the medieval crusaders. It preaches a quasi-religious Marxist doctrine that was widely distributed in a so-called bible even as the cartel allegedly sells methamphetamines and commits murders and extortion throughout Michoacan state."

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.