Created: Thu, 27 Feb 2014 10:14:26 EST
Updated: Thu, 27 Feb 2014 10:14:26 EST
MEXICO CITY (AP) — A Mexican official says a leader of hit men working for the Knights Templar drug cartel in a region ravaged by drug violence has been killed in a shootout with federal police.
The federal government official says Francisco Galeana was shot Thursday in the mountain town of Arteaga in Michoacan state. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because was not authorized to speak about the case.
Authorities say Galeana was an important cartel leader in the region known as Tierra Caliente, where vigilante groups have surged in the last year to fight the Knights Templar. The official said the man was also known as "The Panther" and described him as a "bloodthirsty hit man."
The Mexican government sent more troops to the area in January to curb the violence.