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Mexican cartel boss who beheaded 12 people dies from coronavirus

Gang leader ‘el gordo May’ was announced dead on Sunday, as Mexico’s Covid-19 death toll nears 3,500  

Gino Spocchia
Tuesday 12 May 2020 15:31 BST
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One of Mexico’s most notorious cartel bosses, Moises Escamilla May, has died from the coronavirus.

The high-ranking member of the dangerous Los Zetas crime syndicate had spent more than a decade in prison after being accused of a string of decapitations.

May was arrested shortly after he was alleged to have beheaded 12 people in Yucatan, Mexico, in August 2008.

The 45-year-old died at a maximum-security prison in the state of Jalisco, west of Mexico City, one week after Covid-19 symptoms began.

Mexican authorities confirmed the death on Sunday, although the ex-cartel boss died on 8 May. He had been diagnosed with Covid-19 two days beforehand.

May, nicknamed “El Gordo May” which means “Fat May” in English, was serving a 37-year jail sentence for organised crime, weapons and drugs offences.

He was also in charge of the distribution of cocaine in Cancun.

At the time of his detention he was identified as a regional leader of Old School Zetas, one of the two factions of the notoriously violent cartel.

Los Zetas was regarded as one of the most dangerous of Mexico’s drug cartels, although in recent times it has become fragmented and seen its influence diminish.

As well as drug trafficking, its criminal activities also covered kidnap, extortion, sex trafficking and gun running rackets.

It was formed by army deserters who began to work for the Gulf Cartel before breaking away to create their own cartel.

After the capture of former leader Omar Trevino Morales, alias Z-42, the cartel split into two factions which were at war until 2018. One of the factions was the Old School.

According to Johns Hopkins University data, Mexico has more than 35,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 3,465 deaths

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