Here is an excerpt from Guy Taylor's article in World Politics Review (in which I'm heavily quoted):
"The capture this week of La Familia Michoacana drug cartel boss José de Jesús Méndez, aka El Chango or the Monkey, represents a shiny notch on the belt of Mexican President Felipe Calderón, whose five-year-old presidency has been defined by its war against drug kingpins. But the arrest is unlikely to stem the ongoing violence that has caused frustrations to mount among Mexican voters ahead of the nation's 2012 presidential election. In fact, it's likely to have the opposite effect, says Sylvia Longmire... The government campaign against La Familia over the past several years had already resulted in a split within the cartel's ranks, Longmire added. With El Chango now in custody, she explained, a power vacuum has opened, with the Los Zetas and Sinoloa cartels angling to take over La Familia's territory in the Michoacan and Guerrero states along Mexico's southwestern Pacific coastline." Link to Full Article
Analysis: You can read my take on the arrest in a small nutshell in the rest of the article, but I wanted to go a little more in depth here.
At the time of El Chango's arrest, the original LFM was split in two. This occurred after the cult-like TCO's original leader, Nazario "El Mas Loco" Moreno Gonzalez was killed back in December. Those in LFM remaining loyal to him, led by Servando "La Tuta" Gómez Martínez, renamed themselves the Knights Templar. Oddly enough, they're considered in some places as the breakaway faction. Those under El Chango kept the LFM name, and almost immediately started battling with the Knights Templar over the original LFM's territory and drug routes.
Shortly before El Chango was arrested, he realized that LFM was almost out of money, and running out of options. What's a narco to do? Form an alliance! And that he did, albeit a strange one. Roughly a year to 18 months ago, the original LFM formed an alliance with the Sinaloa Federation and the Gulf cartel to do battle against Los Zetas. So why join them now? Well, because La Tuta and his Knights Templar are the loyalists, El Chango may have been viewed by La Tuta's allies - the Federation and the Gulf cartel - as an enemy. His best bet for survival would have been to seek out help from Los Zetas.
This bears relevance to what might happen to the remnants of LFM in the days and weeks to come. The Mexican government is convinced that LFM is done for, and that may be true - in their previous incarnation. There are, in my opinion, three major possibilities. First, the Knights Templar could make peace with the LFM remnants and reunite. I think this is the least likely option; too much blood has spilled between the two factions in the last six months. Next is the possibility of the Federation absorbing LFM.Their territories butt up against each other, and it probably wouldn't be too difficult for the Federation to muscle in on that. However, that would anger the Knights Templar, and as far as I know, the Federation and the Knights Templar want to stay in each other's good graces to keep fighting Los Zetas.
That leaves us with the most likely option, which is that Los Zetas will absorb what's left of LFM. They were already in talks to form an alliance, and Los Zetas are just inching to work their way westward into LFM and Knights Templar territory. There have already been reports of a Zetas presence in Guanajuato and Nayarit, so expansion is definitely one of their top goals. Unless LFM reunites - which, again, is unlikely - then there will probably be some increased narco activity in and around LFM's territory, which means more violence to come.