Mexican Cartel Claims to Have Retired
La Familia dissolved, banners say
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 26, 2011 2:42 AM CST
Federal police escort alleged members of the Mexican drug cartel "La Familia Michoacana" into a police truck.   (AP Photo/Miguel Tovar)
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(Newser) – Banners have appeared in the heartland of Mexico's La Familia drug cartel claiming that the criminal organization has been dissolved but authorities are understandably skeptical. The cartel, one of Mexico's most brutal, declared a month-long truce earlier this month and authorities believe that it is weakened and in disarray but by no means out of business, AP reports.

Security officials, noting that there's no way of knowing if the banners are even the work of the cartel, say there will be no truce with La Familia. The cartel "is trying to change tactics to try to stop the government from pursuing it," one analyst says. "I don't think it's going to dissolve because it has a lot of interests, but maybe they will stop killing and beheading to stop drawing attention." The cartel's leader—who announced its independence from the Gulf cartel by rolling five severed heads into a nightclub—was killed in a shootout last month.