One of the most visible of the Mexican drug cartels now at war in that country is called La Familia Michoacana. 

The “family” is one of at least seven cartels spread across the republic. NPR provides a useful map to locate them.

“La familia” has influenced the political life inMichoacan.  10 mayors and 20 other officials wee held in relation to this.  los Angelos Times provides an article discussing how the political life has been corrupted along with a picture showing Rafael “El Cede” Cedeno Hernandez along with others being arrested.

For those who know spanish here is a video capturing  Rafael “El Cede’s” Cedano Hernandez arrest.


La Familia Michoacana

                                                By: Michelle Alvarado


La Familia Michoacana is a newly formed Mexican drug cartel group formed in the west-central part of the state in Mexico, Michoacana according to Corey Flintoff’s A Look at Mexico’s Drug cartel.[1]  The “Family” is suspected to have begun around 2004.  They had a goal according to the article Mexico’s Drug War of “eradicating the trafficking of crystal methamphetamine, or “ice”, and other narcotics, kidnapping, extortion, murder-for-hire, highway assaults, and robberies”.  Originally the group was portrayed as an organization fighting against drugs.  To make their family name known “The family” was responsible for entering a dance club and throwing five severed human heads on the floor of the night club in the town of Uruapan.  This group is very powerful and dangerous that they have lately even been involved with political corruption of this south central state.  Even though the alleged leader of La Familia Michoacana, Alberto Espinoza Barron, (AKA “La Fresa”), was arrested last year the group still remained strong and powerful.  Recently in late April Rafeal “El Cede” Cedeno Hernandez was arrested for his involvement in La Familia.  “El Cede’s” brother Daniel soon after stepped down from federal deputy candidate in the congressional election, which a small Mexico Green Ecological Party had nominated him. In reality it was less of a political organization than a corrupt family enterprise.  However, corruption just doesn’t stop there.  According to the Los Angeles Times [2] in late May the political corruption of La Familia became very clear.  Ten mayors and twenty other local officials were detained as part of a drug investigation.  George Grayson who wrote La Familia Michoacana: Deadly Mexican Cartel Revisited, [3] back in July that the “Family” “ambushed units of armed forces and federal police in eight cities, beginning at Michoacana’s colonial capital, Morelia”. The family used high powered rifles and grenades against its enemies in Guerro and Guadalajara states.  They are upset about their leaders being taken out, that on July 13th along the Morelia-Lazaro Cardenas highway the “Family” executed twelve federal officers and left them in a pile alongside the road reading “Vengan por otro, los estamos esperando” or in English “come for another (of our leaders), we are waiting for you”.  The cartel is now moving from its Mexico’s market into the US markets like Atlanta, Dallas and Los Angeles.  Underneath the trailers of fruits and vegetable lays drugs and weapons being imported into the United States.  The law enforcement agencies from both coasts have very little to no experience with “La Familia”.  Military intervention is obviously necessary, but more than just this action needs to be done to stop the drugs from entering into the United States.  Many will agree that cleaning house is needed.  If you get rid of the corrupt politicians and government official, this will remove “La Familia” from being above the law.


[1] In Focus, Mexico’s Drug war, June 2, 2009.  

[2] Turner, La Familia Michoacana, 2009.        

[3] Grayson, La Familia Michoacana: Deadly Mexican Cartel Revisited.