Dionisio Loya Plancarte 'El Tio'
A picture of drug kingpin Dionisio Loya Plancarte is displayed on a screen during a news conference in Mexico City January 27, 2014.Reuters

Mexican drug lord Dionicio Loya Plancarte, 58, has been captured, officials have announced.

Loya Plancarte, renamed "El Tio" (the uncle) was the leader of the Knights Templar drug cartel in western Michoacán state, and he was one of the five most important criminal leaders in Michoacán.

Loya Plancarte, "El Tio" (the uncle), was hiding in a closet when he was captured without the use of "a single gun shot", said Monte Alejandro Rubido, executive secretary of the National System of Public Security (SNSP).

El Tío was"allegedly controlling the narcotic traffic in the city of Morelia, maintaining a tight link with the leaders of the Knights Templar," Rubido explained.

The government had a 30m-peso (£1.3m) bounty on Loya Plancarte's head for drug and money-laundering crimes. El Tio was accused of at least 14 charges including drug trafficking and organised crime, according to Rubido.

The arrest of Loya Plancarte follows a federal government's announcement of intervention in Michoacán in order to regain control of security in the state.

The National Commission of Security (CNS) said, last week, that 110 people have been already arrested in Michoacán; the third phase of the arrests took place in Apatzingán, one of the 27 cities where federal forces have already regained control of security.

"He [Loya Plancarte] was detained thanks to the work of our intelligence team, the work of our federal agencies which have shown that you can achieve results when you work this way," the BBC quoted interior minister Miguel Angel Osorio Chong as saying.

Referring to the self-defence groups, Osorio Chong said: "It is not through violence that you can stop [gang members] and detain them, but through the institutional work of the Mexican government, to restore peace to the Mexican people."

Who are the Knights Templar?

The Knights Templar cartel is a Mexican criminal organisation created after the leader of the cartel La Familia Michochana died in 2010.

The cartel gets its name from the Templar Order of the middle ages which protected Jerusalem, and its hit men have commandments such as to protect the community and keep all activities secret, or the families will be killed.

According to journalist Ioan Grillo - who wrote the book El Narco: Inside Mexico's Criminal Insurgency, which documents how Mexican drug gangs have transformed into a criminal insurgency – the Knights Templar claim to be the protectors of Michoacan community.

"When they first announced themselves last spring, they displayed more than 40 narcomanteles, or drug-cartel banners, across the state with a message promising security. "Our commitment is to safeguard order, avoid robberies, kidnapping, extortion, and to shield the state from rival organisations," they said. A week later, their first victim was hanged from an overpass with a note claiming that he was a kidnapper," Grillo said.

"The massacres have rapidly given the Knights Templar a brutal reputation in an already barbaric conflict, in which drug cartels compete to prove who should be most feared," Grillo continued.

Members of The Knights Templar are treated as celebrities, one of its members stated in an interview.

"My days are marvellous because I am like an artist and everyone greets me, takes pictures with me [...] everyone wants to invite me somewhere and when I go out they offer me a bottle."

When asked whether it was worth joining the Knights Templar, the member answered: " Well yes it was. Now I have women I can choose from, I decide you: yes, and you: no. They give me gifts, gold, clothes and many things.

"I have seen how many others have to pay to have sex with them; I don't. [...]
I want to live, and the only way I want to die is like a warrior [...] I live in a cool way, I have money, women, cars and anything else I ask for," he said.