MEXICO CITY (AFP) - A Knights Templar drug cartel leader was walking down a village street in Mexico when marines killed him after he refused to give himself up and shot at them, authorities said Tuesday.
Enrique "Kike" Plancarte, the cult-like gang's financial chief, was gunned down after authorities tracked him down in the central Queretaro state.
Late Monday, armed forces personnel "identified a person with the characteristics of Enrique Plancarte walking in the village of Colon," said National Security Commissioner Monte Alejandro Rubido.
"When this subject saw the federal forces, he tried to hide and when they told him to stop he responded with fire," Rubido told a news conference.
The marines shot back and provided first aid to the 43-year-old bearded gangster, who was wounded but died before being transported for medical care, he said.
Vigilante militias that formed a year ago to kick the cartel out of towns in Michoacan, the western state where the Knights Templar are based, had named Plancarte as one of the gang's top leaders that they wanted to see taken down.
His death comes after Knights Templar founder Nazario Moreno, alias "El Chayo," was killed by troops in Michoacan on March 9.
Moreno had been mistakenly reported killed in December 2010, leaving fellow leader Servando "La Tuta" Gomez as the public face of the cartel.
Gomez, a former school teacher, remains at large.
Plancarte's uncle Dionicio, who was also a key leader of the gang, was detained in January.