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Arrested Farmers Deny Cartel Links

MEXICO / 12 NOV 2010 BY INSIGHT CRIME EN

Amidst confusing and suspicious circumstances, Mexican authorities say they have arrested eight members of the Peasant Farmer and Popular Organization.

The group, (Organizaciones Campesinas y Populares - COCYP) -- a Chiapas-based syndicate formed in December 1998, and constituted in Chiapas in August of this year, which fights for the rights of small farmers -- for their connections to the Zetas and the Pelones, two criminal syndicates that are working in concert in the region. The authorities say that during a raid they found weapons, ammunition and two kilograms of marijuana; they add that the COCYP is involved in drug trafficking and kidnapping. However, the COCYP denies the account, adding that the authorities are targeting them for their political platform and their organization’s growing presence in Chiapas. If the COCYP is part of the Zetas’ criminal syndicate, it would be an indication of the growing sophistication of that organization, which has had little social message to accompany their bloody, authoritarian tactics. Yet it is far from clear.

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