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Mexican drug cartel says it extends truce

By Mariano Castillo, CNN
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Mexico's deadly drug war
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The Familia Michoacana is one of the most violence cartels in Mexico
  • In a statement, the group says it will extend a truce for another month
  • Police have not stopped going after the cartel

(CNN) -- A statement purportedly released by a violent Mexican drug cartel promises a one-month extension to a truce it called for in December.

The Familia Michoacana cartel, which takes its name from the central-coastal state where it operates, signed the statement, which was circulated by e-mail on Sunday and published in its entirety on a blog dedicated to covering the drug wars.

Mexican authorities were not immediately available to comment on the authenticity of the communication.

The cartel accuses the federal police of committing abuses in the region and blaming them. The authorities have attacked the cartel and any person caught in its path, be it civilians, women or children, the cartel alleges. It also wishes the residents of Michoacan a happy new year.

The Familia Michoacana "separates itself from any criminal act that occurred in the month of December 2010 that the federal authorities want to make us responsible for," the statement says.

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A similar letter circulated last month offered a truce for the month of December, though that didn't mean the the month was without violence. The Mexican government continued its operations against the cartel, killing one of its leaders, Nazario Moreno Gonzalez, after two days of armed confrontations.

Five federal police officers and three civilians, including two minors, were killed in the operation, a national security spokesman said at the time. Three members of La Familia Michoacana were killed and three others captured. Authorities described a scene of heavy gunfire where cartel members set trucks and buses on fire on highways to block police from arriving.

Another cartel leader, Francisco Lopez Villanueva, alias "El Bigote," was captured at the end of the month.

The truce will be extended another month "to continue demonstrating to the authorities, federal government and above all the Michoacan residents that the Familia Michoacana is not guilty of all of the criminal acts that the authorities and federal government make public through the media," the statement says.