Mexico: Cartel Kidnapped Kids, Stole Their Organs
Nephew of major leader of powerful Knights Templar cartel arrested
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Mar 18, 2014 10:14 AM CDT
Federal police arrive in Apatzingan, in the Michoacan state of Mexico, in this, Feb. 9, 2014 file photo.   (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

(Newser) – Police in Mexico say they've uncovered a grisly scheme to kidnap children and sell their organs. Authorities in the Western state of Michoacan revealed yesterday that they'd arrested Manuel Plancarte Gaspar, the nephew of one of the top leaders of the Knights Templar cartel, for his alleged involvement. Gaspar and his cohorts would allegedly take their young captives to rented homes with medical equipment and remove their organs, the AP reports.

Police said the cases dated back several years. Once word of the arrest broke, a leader in a local vigilante group told a radio station that several children had been rescued from a cartel van in his town. "They were inside a refrigerated box, tightly wrapped in blankets," he said. All hailed from the same Mexico City school, and were abducted during a beach outing. The Templar cartel has for years been diversifying its operations beyond drugs; it now makes most of its money from illegal mining, logging, and extortion.