In the state of Michoacán, one man has quietly risen to become a major figure in organized crime. Though not as infamous as cartel boss Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes (“El Mencho”), Miguel Angel Gallegos Godoy, nicknamed “El Migueladas”, has amassed considerable power and wealth while keeping a low profile.
The Rise of a Capo
For years, Gallegos Godoy passed himself off as a prosperous farmer and businessman while establishing himself in the region of Tierra Caliente. In 2014, a local priest denounced him as the mafia boss most protected by the Michoacán government. The next year, a senator pointed to Gallegos Godoy as potentially succeeding “La Tuta,” the former Knights Templar cartel leader.
Federal intelligence reports from 2017 indicated that the drug trafficker owned extensive land for growing melons. He was described as the “master” and “lord” of numerous Michoacán municipalities.
Links to Officials and Rivals
In 2018, future federal security secretary Alfonso Durazo first learned of Gallegos Godoy’s nickname from local women. The capo was allegedly an ally of José Manuel Mireles during the rise of Michoacán self-defense groups. He also had ties to “Kike” Plancarte, a leader of the Knights Templar cartel.
Reports suggest Gallegos Godoy financed political campaigns and influenced the appointments of officials. A 2019 video showed his gunmen surrounding and harassing Mexican soldiers.
Extortion and Control
Today, Gallegos Godoy is considered one of Michoacán’s most powerful capos. Business owners say his group extorts them. In early August, tortilla vendors and lemon farmers suspended activities due to extortion demands.
On August 27, arson attacks and transportation shutdowns occurred in several Michoacán cities. Police arrested suspects carrying drums of gasoline.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador dismissed the incidents as “publicity and propaganda.” But for Michoacán residents, organized crime remains an ever-present threat.