Servando Gómez
Servando Gómez (far right) is seen in a video posted on Youtube. YouTube

Mexican authorities say they have arrested the leader of the brutal the Knights Templar drug cartel, Servando Gómez Martínez aka 'La Tuta', according to a report on NBC news.

The gangster was captured in Morelia, the capital of his stronghold western state of Michoacán, during an early morning where no shots were fired, a federal official said.

A former school teacher turned criminal, Gómez is believed to be one of the original founders of the feared drug cartel La Familia Michoacana.

He went on to start rival group the Knights Templar, leading to a violent turf war between the two clans.

Gómez, 49, had reportedly become more prolific in recent years, with his clan claiming control over most of Michoacán.

According to reports, the Knights Templar terrorised the local population and allegedly ruled the state through a system of extortion corruption and intimidation.

Federal prosecutors accused Gómez of overseeing hundreds of murders and kidnappings as well as running a huge drug trafficking ring and had put up a 30m pesos (£1.2m, $2m) reward on his head.

Despite being one of Mexico's most wanted men Gómez was often seen in public and released interviews to journalists.

In January last year, as Federal authorities were mounting a large counter-offensive that led to them eventually re-taking control of Michoacán and restoring order, Gómez told Channel 4 he saw himself as a sort of Robin Hood like figure.

"Ever since I was a little boy, I was always altruistic," Gomez said in the video. "My mother told me 35 years ago that I would never have any money because I was always giving it away."

The report featured footage of La Tuta addressing residents of a local town. "As we told you, we are a necessary evil," Gómez is seen telling a group of townspeople on tape. "Unfortunately or fortunately we are here. If we weren't, another group would come."

Reports in the Mexican press say Gómez recently underwent plastic surgery to change his appearance and voice.

Federal police said he was being transferred to Mexico City.