MEXICO CITY—The top ideologue of one of Mexico’s most powerful drug cartels, transformed into a folk saint after the Mexican government wrongly announced his death in battle in 2010, was killed by Mexican marines and soldiers in a firefight Sunday morning, a government official said.
Nazario Moreno González, a founder of the La Familia cartel, which dominated the rich agricultural and mining state of Michoacán, died after he refused to surrender and fired on soldiers and navy marines who had surrounded him, said Monte Alejandro Rubido, the secretary of Mexico’s security cabinet.
“He was responsible for multiple homicides, and was head of indoctrination of the organized-crime group,” said Mr. Rubido. Even after the false announcement of his death in 2010, Mr. Moreno continued to play a key role in the cartels. “He continued to be the indisputable leader of the crime organization.”
Mr. Moreno, 44 years old, was identified by his fingerprints, officials said.
Mr. Moreno’s death is the second takedown of a major drug trafficker in the past three weeks. In February, an elite unit of navy marines with the help of U.S. intelligence information captured Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, the head of the Sinaloa cartel, considered to be the world’s most powerful drug-trafficking organization.