MEXICO CITY — Mexico’s government confirmed late Sunday that the leader of the Knights Templar Cartel, who was declared dead by authorities in 2010, was killed in an early-morning shootout with troops.
Tomas Zeron, head of the criminal investigation unit for the federal attorney general’s office, said the identity of Nazario Moreno Gonzalez had been confirmed 100 percent by fingerprints but added that tests would continue.
The Mexican military had been tracking Moreno and marines and soldiers confronted him in Timbuscatio, a town in the remote mountains of the western farming state of Michoacan, his cartel’s home base. Officials said troops fired to respond to an ‘‘aggression’’ as they tried to make an arrest.
Alejandro Rubido, security spokesman for President Enrique Pena Nieto’s administration, said that despite the 2010 announcement Moreno had been killed in a shootout with federal police, national government officials taking over Michoacan in January discovered reports that he was alive.
Moreno led the La Familia cartel when he supposedly perished in a two-day gun battle with federal police in December 2010 in Michoacan, his home state. No corpse was found then, however.