Cartel capo Servando Gomez Martinez.
“I killed them because they were assholes who snitched on me, when I didn’t do anything to them, and only helped everybody,” Gomez said in an audio file released in November.
“But I know I’ll eventually pay for it.”
Three months later, the leader of the Knights Templar cartel fell.
A former primary school teacher, Gomez, known widely as “La Tuta,” was apprehended in Morelia, Michoacan state. It was the Mexican government’s most significant arrest since the capture of notorious Sinaloa cartel leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, which occurred almost exactly a year before.
The arrest came at around 3 am at a hot dog stand in downtown Morelia, after what the Mexican president referred to as “months of investigation.” The detention, authorities said, unfolded without incident.
In a video released to Mexican news outlets taken in the hours after Gomez’s arrest, the drug lord appears at ease but recalcitrant, saying he was arrested “because I’m a criminal.”
“Because I led a gang of pendejos,” or idiots, he said.
Cave where Mexican drug capo Servando Gomez Martinez lived while in hiding.
Birthday cake mistake
The Gomez capture was marked by a series of events reminiscent of the days Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein spent in hiding before he was captured.
Gomez, increasingly isolated by the pursuing authorities and pressured by his cartel and autodefensa rivals, evaded police for months by hiding out in a bat-filled cave, Mexico’s federal police commissioner told the news agency EFE in an interview.
The cave had previously served as a holding cell for detainees. Gomez, 49, spent his final free months in “misery,” commissioner Enrique Galindo told EFE.
By early February, authorities had narrowed the search down to one of ten properties. A messenger whose phone was tapped finally led authorities to his location.
On February 6, a girlfriend of Gomez named Maria Antonieta Luna Ávalos visited him along with others who brought food and drinks, including a chocolate birthday cake, which was found in the refrigerator at his home at time of his arrest.
Hours after Gomez’s capture, his brother Flavio Gomez Martinez was detained in the city of Merida on the Yucatan peninsula, in possession of firearms and narcotics, authorities said. Six other people linked to Gomez have also detained.
“We now have 90 of the 122 most dangerous [people] detained,” Mexican interior minister Osorio Chong said.
Read the FULL STORY on Vice News.
See more pictures, including the now infamous chocolate birthday cake that led to his capture.