Heavily armed gunmen tossed grenades and opened fire with AK-47 assault rifles on Mexican federal police bases and checkpoints in the state capital of Morelia and in five other towns in Michoacán in the wee hours of July 11, immediately after the arrest of Arnoldo Rueda Medina, an alleged high-ranking member of La Familia drug cartel. Attacks were reported in Zitácuaro, Lázaro Cárdenas, Pátzcuaro, Taretan, Huetamo and Apatzingan—where assailants shot up a hotel where federal agents were staying. Five federal police agents and two soldiers were killed, with several more injured.
Rueda was allegedly in charge of operations under reputed La Familia leaders Nazario Moreno González and José de Jesus Mendez Vargas, both on Mexico’s most-wanted list. Minutes after he was captured in Morelia, a group of more than two dozen hit men tossed fragmentation grenades and opened fire on federal police offices where he was being held. Three agents were injured before police were able to fend off the aggressors. Attacks immediately spread across the state—especially targeting towns where federal police arrested local mayors in May in an unprecedented sweep of politicians accused of protecting drug gangs. Eight Michoacán mayors remain behind bars.