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Mexican authorities nab suspected cartel hit man, a former police commander

July 1, 2010 |  2:04 pm

Miguel ortiz el tyson michoacan
Authorities in the Mexican state of Michoacan have arrested a top suspect in several recent high-profile ambushes blamed on the drug trafficking cartel La Familia, including a recent attack on a police convoy that left 12 federal officers dead, The Times reports.

The hit man, Miguel Ortiz Miranda, alias "El Tyson," was previously a state police commander and is suspected of also being involved in a deadly April ambush targeting the Michoacan state security chief, Minerva Bautista Gomez. She survived the attack, but four people were killed.

Ortiz joined Michoacan's police in 1999 and left in 2008. By then he reportedly had been working for La Familia, a quasi-religious organization that specializes in methamphetamine production, since 2005. After his arrest Tuesday, "Ortiz described five days of indoctrination when he joined La Familia that included Bible-reading, self-help seminars and weapons training," The Times reports.

The attack on Bautista's convoy was one of the most extreme ever recorded in the government's bloody 3-1/2-year conflict with trafficking groups that has seen plenty of extreme violence. The security chief survived a lengthy barrage of firepower that left more than 2,700 spent shells. Three grenades were recovered undetonated. Times correspondent Tracy Wilkinson, in Michoacan recently, conducted the first international media interview with Bautista after the attack.

"They didn't just want to kill us," she said in the interview. "They wanted to destroy us."

-- Daniel Hernandez in Mexico City

Photo: Federal police officers with suspected La Familia hit man Miguel Ortiz Miranda. Credit: La Opinion de Michoacan

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