Man held for trial in Mexico on charges of extorting money from priest

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A judge in western Mexico has ordered a man to stand trial on charges that he tried to extort protection payments from a Roman Catholic priest.

The prosecutors' office in the western state of Michoacan says the man made repeated threatening telephone calls to the priest demanding money. The office identified the suspect only as Jesus Fernando M.

The office said Friday the suspect was arrested when he showed up to collect the payment.

Michoacan has been dominated for years by the pseudo-religious Knights Templar drug cartel. Local residents say the cartel has instituted systematic extortion payments from businesses, farmers and apparently even the clergy.

It was not immediately known if the man was a member of that cartel; he did not have an attorney of record.