By Dialogo June 23, 2011 José de Jesús “el Chango” Méndez, a leader of the bloodthirsty Mexican cartel “La Familia” [“The Family”] and wanted by the United States, was arrested on 21 June in an operation by the Federal Police in the central state of Aguascalientes, in the second major blow to this organization in the last few months. Méndez is one of the founders of the cartel, which is a major producer of methamphetamines destined for the United States and has been weakened and divided following the death in December of another leader, Nazario “el Chayo” Moreno. “With this arrest, what was left of that command structure of that criminal organization has been destroyed,” government security spokesperson Alejandro Poiré said in a statement to the communications media. Thirty-eight-year-old Méndez, was a member of the Gulf cartel years ago and is charged in the United States with introducing large quantities of synthetic drugs, as well as cocaine and marijuana. Mexican authorities were offering a reward of 30 million pesos (US$ 2.54 million) for Méndez, and they believe him responsible for attacks on authorities, kidnappings, and extortion. Following Méndez’s arrest and “El Cheyo” Moreno’s death in December 2010, the other significant leader who remains at large is Servando “la Tuta” Gómez, who has made unprecedented interventions in the communications media, on one occasion to ask for an agreement with the government and subsequently to call the cartel to arms after Moreno’s death. Calderón launched the first operations of his anti-drug campaign in Michoacán, shortly after taking office in December 2006. Since then, more than 40,000 people have died throughout the country as a consequence of clashes among the cartels and between the cartels and security forces.