HomeNewsBriefMexican Vigilantes Hand Captives over to State
BRIEF

Mexican Vigilantes Hand Captives over to State

MEXICO / 20 FEB 2013 BY MARGUERITE CAWLEY EN

A community police group in Mexico’s Guerrero state has handed over a group of criminal suspects to the authorities, demonstrating their willingness to collaborate with the state as their legalization is debated.

Armed vigilantes in Ayutla de los Libres, a municipality on Mexico's southern Pacific coast, handed over some 20 men and women who they had detained for over 50 days after accusing them of crimes such as extortion and kidnapping, Milenio reported.

At least 22 other suspects, who were accused of minor crimes, were released after undergoing the vigilantes' "re-education process," according to Animal Politico. The group released another 14 people earlier in February, and claim that they have no more prisoners.

The director of local community police umbrella group the Union of the People and Organizations of the State of Guerrero (UPOEG), Bruno Placido Valerio, said they were giving the authorities the opportunity to punish the suspects, but that if the state releases them, the group would not hesitate to detain them again.

The recent prisoner release comes as the legalization of self-defense groups is being debated by the federal government. El Universal reported that senators from the opposition Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) have proposed reforming the constitution to legalize and regulate the groups.

Numerous armed community police units have recently sprung up across the "Costa Chica" region of Guerrero state, where drug trafficking has led to increased crime and violence. Over 800 civilians are believed to be involved in the groups.

InSight Crime Analysis

Community vigilante groups have been proliferating in Mexico, in a sign of the state's failure to provide security. As the groups develop, they have looked to establish ties with the authorities in some regions, including Guerrero, where self-defense forces have worked with political figures and the military.

However, as the debate over legalizing community policing intensifies, there are serious concerns the groups could abuse their power, fueled by reports in January that a person had been executed by vigilantes.

The dangers of legitimizing these groups are illustrated by the history of Colombia, which over the last few decades has been confronted with rampant violence resulting from both illegal vigilante groups -- such as the leftist militias that controlled Medellin's slums in the 1990s -- and legal groups -- such as the CONVIVIR community defense groups set up in the Antioquia province in the same period.

There is inherent peril in vigilante groups cooperating with the security forces, especially in Mexico where the police and military are deeply infiltrated by criminal groups. In Colombia, legal paramilitary groups evolved into death squads, which often worked with the security forces to carry out the dirty work the legal agencies could not.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

MEXICO / 6 MAY 2011

In Mexico's capital 2,782 police officers were fired for poor performance in 2010, OEM's El Sol de…

MEXICO / 20 JAN 2016

Kidnapping and disappearance cases in Mexico were down in 2015, but as continued accounts of government ineptitude and collusion surface,…

MEXICO / 15 MAR 2012

A north Mexico city's ban on a popular musical group, famous for playing ballads about drug trafficking and violence, is…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Who Are Memo Fantasma and Sergio Roberto de Carvalho?

24 JUN 2022

Inside the criminal career of Memo Fantasma  In March 2020, InSight Crime revealed the identity and whereabouts of Memo Fantasma, a paramilitary commander and drug trafficker living in…

THE ORGANIZATION

Environmental and Academic Praise

17 JUN 2022

InSight Crime’s six-part series on the plunder of the Peruvian Amazon continues to inform the debate on environmental security in the region. Our Environmental Crimes Project Manager, María Fernanda Ramírez,…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Series on Plunder of Peru’s Amazon Makes Headlines

10 JUN 2022

Since launching on June 2, InSight Crime’s six-part series on environmental crime in Peru’s Amazon has been well-received. Detailing the shocking impunity enjoyed by those plundering the rainforest, the investigation…

THE ORGANIZATION

Duarte’s Death Makes Waves

3 JUN 2022

The announcement of the death of Gentil Duarte, one of the top dissident commanders of the defunct Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), continues to reverberate in Venezuela and Colombia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Cattle Trafficking Acclaim, Investigation into Peru’s Amazon 

27 MAY 2022

On May 18, InSight Crime launched its most recent investigation into cattle trafficking between Central America and Mexico. It showed precisely how beef, illicitly produced in Honduras, Guatemala…