el chayo
Some residents of Michoacan have reported seeing “El Chayo” as his former cartel, La Familia Michoacana, was morphing into the more vicious and powerful Knights Templar. (AP Photo/Primera Plana, File)

Mexico’s government confirmed late Sunday that Nazario Moreno Gonzalez, one of Mexico’s most notorious drug lords, was shot and killed on Sunday morning despite the Government announcing he was dead four years ago.

SEE ALSO:Drug lords, the Mexican Mafia and a death in the family 

Residents of Michoacan had reported seeing Moreno around the state since the government reported he was killed in a two-day gunbattle with federal police in December 2010 during the government of Felipe Calderón, though authorities conceded they never found his body.

La Familia was the first target of Calderon’s assault on Mexican drug trafficking, and he touted Moreno’s death and his dismantling of the cartel as a victory.

However, after Moreno’s supposed 2010 death, La Familia Michoacana grew stronger and became the more vicious and powerful Knights Templar, and became a major trafficker of methamphetamine to the US.

Monte Alejandro Rubido Garcia, executive secretary of Mexico’s National Public Security System, said Moreno was “very much alive” when federal troops cornered him on Sunday. They planned to arrest him, Rubido said, but Moreno was fatally shot after he opened fire, CNN reported.

Who is Nazario Moreno or “El Chayo”?

Moreno was born in the Michoacan farming hub of Apatzingan on March 8, 1970, and migrated to California as a teenager. He has been one of the biggest drug cartel leaders in the country, leading La Familia Michoacana and allegedly the Knights Templar Cartel.

Authorities said he was a  “spiritual leader” who used religion to recruit criminals and strengthen his strong hold. Moreno reportedly wrote his own religiously tinted book of values for the cartel, he also required  that his men carried  the “spiritual manual” or “bible.”

As leader of La Familia Michoacana, Moreno González was in charge of creating alliances with other cartels. According to the Latin Times, in 2008, Moreno González sent armed men to help Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán to fight off rival cartels. In return he gained access to the corridors in Sinaloa and Sonora.

El Chayo’s killing follows the capture of Mexico’s most powerful drug lord, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, who surrendered when marines raided his condo in the Pacific resort city of Mazatlan last month.

SEE ALSO: 5 things ‘El Chapo’ Guzman’s arrest teaches us 

Additional reporting by AP

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