Mastermind of April ambush in Mexico is arrested

By William Booth
Washington Post Foreign Service
Wednesday, June 30, 2010; 7:20 PM

The mastermind of an April ambush and grenade attack on a high-ranking public security official in drug-plagued Michoacan state has been arrested, federal authorities said Wednesday.

The perpetrator was a police officer.

Miguel Ortiz Miranda, known as "El Tyson," worked for the Michoacan state police from 1999 to 2008, when he resigned.

Investigators said that since 2005, Ortiz had also been a captain in the hyper-violent drug cartel La Familia, which operates an archipelago of clandestine methamphetamine factories and traffics narcotics to the United States.

On April 24, the state's public security secretary, Minerva Bautista, was returning from a state fair with her bodyguards when her convoy of armored sport-utility vehicles was attacked by as many as 40 commandos, who unleashed more than 2,700 rounds of rifle fire. They also lobbed grenades at Bautista. One landed in her vehicle but did not explode. Four people died, including two bodyguards. Bautista was wounded.

At a news conference, the federal police's anti-drug chief, Ramón Pequeño García, said Ortiz had confessed and told authorities that La Familia wanted Bautista killed because changes she was making among the ranks of the state police would disrupt cartel activities.

Ortiz said he was trained in the use of firearms and survival techniques by former members of the Mexican military at training camps in the mountains of Michoacan. The lessons, he said, were accompanied by self-help courses and Bible readings.

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