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Mexican Federal Government: Michoacan Self-Defense Vigilantes Must Give up their Guns

Updated on April 7, 2014

Drug Cartel Protest in Mexico

Journalists protest the increase in drug cartel violence in Mexico.
Journalists protest the increase in drug cartel violence in Mexico. | Source

Spokesman for Self-Defense Group Quote

A spokesman for the self-defense groups, Jose Manuel Mireles said: "If they disarm us, the Knights Templar will come and kill us."

Federal Police Captured a Drug Cartel Suspect

Federal Police escort drug cartel suspect from helicopter.
Federal Police escort drug cartel suspect from helicopter. | Source

The Government that Fails to Protect its Own

When the Mexican Federal Government could not provide the manpower to protect Michoacan - one of its own states - they did what any community would do to ensure self-preservation. They formed a militia of their own to protect themselves from the Knights Templar - a Mexican drug cartel with the resources to terrorize anyone that gets in their way.

But now, the Mexican Federal Government is saying, "Enough."

The Federal Government claims that the Knights Templar have been suppressed, and it is now time to disband. The local vigilante "self-defense" group is essentially saying, "Not so fast. We still need to protect ourselves, because you obviously are still unable to do so."

The vigilante self-defense groups from Michoacan is clashing with the Mexico Federal Government, because of their failure to comply.

Spokesman Jose Mireles says that their work is not yet done, and they will continue to move throughout the Michoacan communities to find drug cartel members and remove them.

Vigilante Leaders Clashing

Despite their success at purging drug cartels from their communities, each vigilante group has its own leadership, and this has caused issues between vigilante groups. These clashes have become heated, and resulted in the death of two vigilante members.

Hipolito Mora, one of the founders of the vigilante movement, is the main suspect of these murders. He has been detained by the federal security force.

Mora maintains that he is innocent of killing two vigilantes.

Meanwhile, the Mexican army is disbanding these vigilante self-defense groups, and has already done so in nine communities.

Knights Templar Cry 'Foul'

The Knights Templar, however misguided they are, claim that Michoacan is their territory, and that they actually protect this state from a drug cartel in Jalisco, called New Generation. Knights Templar are claiming that these vigilante groups are actually in league with the New Generation drug cartel, and taking this opportunity to wage war on their "friendly neighborhood drug cartels."

Armed Vigilantes vs Drug Cartels In Mexico

Interior Minister Miguel Angel Osorio Chong

"The government has delivered results and now the other side must fulfill its word."

-Mexico's Interior Minister Miguel Angel Osorio Chong

Mexican Government to Vigilantes: Join the Rural Defence Corps

At one time, the Mexican Federal Government did not have a problem with the local Michoacan self-defense groups. They even invited the self-defense groups to join a Rural Defense Corps, which would mean that they would have to take orders from the Federal security forces. The vigilante self-defense groups actually signed an agreement on Jan. 27, 2014 to join the official security forces, however they remain in control of at least 12 municipalities with no clear interest in giving up control of these jurisdictions.

Arrest of Knights Templar Leaders

After the arrest of the Knights Templar leaders, the Federal Government told the self-defense groups to disband and to disarm, because the threats were taken care of. The gov't said that their role as vigilantes was no longer needed.

However, the top leader of the Knights Templar has still not been captured. His name is Servando "La Tuta" Gomez.

Knights Templar Leaders Killed

On April 1, 2014, Knights Templar drug lord Enrique Plancarte was killed during a federal operation, one month after Knights Templar Nazario Moreno was taken out.

In February 2014, Joaquin "Shorty" Guzman was arrested. Before his capture, he was considered the "World's Most Wanted" drug lord after his escape from a Mexican prison in 2001). The U.S. also has drug charges for Guzman, and wants him extradited to face punishment for his drug crimes.

Forbes Magazine has estimated Guzman's wealth at $1 billion.


Photo of the beautiful hillside of Michoacan.
Photo of the beautiful hillside of Michoacan. | Source

Map Showing Michoacan in Mexico

Map showing the state of Michoacan in Mexico.
Map showing the state of Michoacan in Mexico. | Source

Reader Poll

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Mexican State of Michoacan

The Mexican state of Michoacan makes up one of 31 states (not counting the Federal District) of Mexico, located on the western side of the country.

The name Michoacan translates to "place of the fisherman."

It is literally a community made up of fishermen and farmers, who claim that as of recently, they have been the victims of extortion from Knights Templar drug cartels.

Possible Reasons for Vigilante Involvement

The following are possible reasons for local people to join vigilante self-defense groups:

  1. Many local people joining the vigilante groups have the mindset that there is "nothing left to lose," after their family members have been killed by the Knights Templar drug cartel.
  2. Others just want to protect their community.
  3. There could be a possible connection to the New Generation drug cartels from the state of Jalisco, in a turf war with Knights Templar.

© 2014 Zack Love


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