MORELIA , Mexico, June 23 (UPI) -- Fausto Vallejo, governor of the western Mexico's Michoacán state, notorious for its drug cartel headquarters, resigned citing poor health. Vallejo, 65, previously stepped down to receive a kidney transplant, although his exact illness has never been reported. Several days ago, he said he would not resign. However, he may have been prompted by a photograph seen recently on social media of his son Rodrigo in the company of Sevando Gomez Martinez, also known as La Tuta, leader of the local Knights Templar drug cartel.
The Michoacán government attempted to reduce the impact of the photo, noting Rodrigo is not a public official. The federal government considers Martinez a high-value target it seeks to capture.
Michoacán is one of several Mexican states where drug trade-oriented violence, killing and extortion are so ingrained in the political system the federal government has established an outside administrator to bypass state government.
During Vallejo's previous leave of absence, another official, Jesus Reyna, was president. Accused of involvement in the Knights Templar, he is currently imprisoned.
Drug traffickers penetrated police departments and governments across the state during Vallejo's term of office and those of his predecessors. Michoacán is agriculturally abundant but has fallen into the hands of drug cartels who, unlike similar gangs in other Mexican states, seem interested in political power as well as drug profits.