When Rosales Mendoza founded the first cells of La Familia Michoacana Cartel in the 1980s, the Milenio Cartel was competing with the organization for the control of the production and distribution of narcotics in the state of Michoacán. In 2000, Rosales Mendoza united with The Gulf Cartel and The Los Zetas Organization to thwart the Milenio Cartel, causing a wave of violence in western Mexico that lasted until the year 2003. He was arrested by the Grupo Aeromóvil de Fuerzas Especiales (GAFE) special forces squadron on 24 October 2004.
Rosales Mendoza was born on 12 February 1963 in the municipality of La Unión, Guerrero in southern Mexico.
Unconfirmed reports suggest that Rosales Mendoza's gang, La Familia Michoacana Cartel, was possibly formed originally as a vigilante group in the 1980s to counter corruption and local crime, but the organization eventually became involved in the production and distribution narcotics throughout the Mexican state of Michoacán. La Familia Michoacana is an extremely violent criminal organization, and was heavily involved in the methamphetamine production, cocaine trafficking, kidnapping, extortion and other criminal activities. In the year 2000, Rosales Mendoza broke relations with Armando Valencia Cornelio of the Milenio Cartel and formed an alliance with Osiel Cárdenas Guillén, the former leader of The Gulf Cartel and The Los Zetas Organization. This alliance, which intended to displace the Milenio Cartel from Michoacán state, provoked a series of assassinations in area until 2003.
Once Rosales Mendoza became a Gulf Cartel operator, Cárdenas Guillén dispatched two lieutenants of Los Zetas, Efraín Teodoro Torres (Z-14) and Gustavo González Castro (The Erotic One), to help him protect the drug trafficking corridors in Guerrero and in the port city of Lázaro Cárdenas. He soon gained the trust of Cárdenas Guillén and became one of the leading lieutenants for the Gulf Cartel in western Mexico, where he commanded a training camp and taught over 50 gunmen military tactics and how to carry out prisons breaks to free Cárdenas Guillén, who had been captured and imprisoned in 2003.
After Rosales' arrest in 2004, Nazario Moreno González seized control of the gang and La Familia severed ties with the Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas in an effort to take control of Michoacán from any external influences, marking the birth of an independent La Familia Cartel.
While preparing to liberate Osiel Cárdenas Guillén from prison, a squadron of about 150 soldiers in the Grupo Aeromóvil de Fuerzas Especiales (GAFE), the special forces unit of the Mexican Army, arrested Rosales Mendoza in capital city of Morelia, Michoacán on 24 October 2004. His capture was a result of the collaborative effort between the Mexican Army and the PGR.
Upon his arrest, Rosales Mendoza was taken under custody to Mexico City and kept in La Palma prison until he was taken to Puente Grande, a maximum security prison in the western state of Jalisco, on 28 October 2004.