Last Tuesday Mexican police arrested a senior member of the Knights Templar crime syndicate, alleged to have kidnapped children to harvest their organs. Police say that Manuel Plancarte Gaspar was part of an organ-trafficking ring run by the infamous cartel. The ring is said to have kidnapped children and taken them to rented homes with medical equipment where their organs were removed.
"We have several statements in open investigations that point to a network of several suspects who would identify people with certain characteristics, especially children, and kidnap them," said Michoacan state Public Safety Secretary Carlos Castellanos Becerra.
Following the arrest of Gaspar, the leader of a local vigilante group made a statement on radio supporting the police allegations. Dr. Jose Manuel Mireles of the civilian "self defence" group in Tepalcatepec said that several children had been rescued in his town while being transported in a refrigerated container inside a van. "They were inside a refrigerated box, tightly wrapped in blankets," he said in a morning interview with MVS, a local radio station.
The Knights Templar is a multifaceted crime syndicate that operates in the Michoacan region of Mexico. Whilst the cartel is heavily involved in drug trafficking, it current top sources of income are illegal mining, illegal logging and extortion. Authorities are investigating just how developed the group's organ-trafficking activities are.
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