HomeNewsBriefMexico Joint Op Security Forces - Vigilantes Leads to Arrests, Questions
BRIEF

Mexico Joint Op Security Forces - Vigilantes Leads to Arrests, Questions

MEXICO / 10 FEB 2014 BY MARGUERITE CAWLEY EN

Mexico's so-called "self-defense" groups have participated in their first major joint operation with state security forces, making numerous arrests in the Michoacan capital of Apatzingan. Some vigilantes were unarmed, others armed, and their exact mandate is still unclear.

On February 8, an unarmed contingent of vigilantes accompanied by federal security forces raided houses in Apatzingan, while a separate group of heavily armed self-defense forces guarded the outskirts of the town, reported AFP. A total of 14 alleged drug traffickers were arrested during the joint operation, among them Antonio Magaña Pantoja, the cousin of Knights Templar leader Enrique Plancarte, alias "Kike," reported EFE.

The following day, an armed and hooded group of vigilantes paraded through the town accompanied by police and soldiers, reported AFP.

Alfredo Castillo, Michoacan's security and development commissioner, told El Universal the operation leading to the captures was the "first real and clear manifestation" of cooperation between vigilantes and the state under the new legal framework established last month. One vigilante leader announced plans to do the same in all 113 municipalities of the state, though this has not been confirmed by officials, reported CNN.

Meanwhile, concerns remain over the Knights' capacity to retaliate, with the group apparently threatening to detonate explosives in the town center of Apatzingan unless the offensive against them is called off, reported La Mañana.

InSight Crime Analysis

The operation is the first indication of what may come under the broad legal framework outlined by the government January 27. It provides for cooperation between state security forces and vigilantes, which will be incorporated into what are tentatively called "Rural Defense Units." It also requires them to register all members and firearms. 

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Mexico Vigilantes

However, it is still unclear what the self-defense groups' mandate is, and if the vigilantes will remain content with being subsumed into a government structure that failed them in the past and was a principal cause for their uprising.

Concerns have been raised about the paramilitary precedent in other countries in the region, and what could happen if the self-defense forces -- which possess high-caliber weapons and have refused to hand in unauthorized arms -- decide to expand beyond the remit afforded to them by the state. 

These questions will likely become prominent, as the conflict appears set to continue for some time. Just last week, four beheadings possibly connected to the Knights Templar, provided an indication of the carnage that may come.

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

EL MAYO / 1 OCT 2015

The sons of a top Sinaloa Cartel drug capo from Mexico are set to take over the family…

MEXICO / 9 DEC 2016

Paraguayan authorities arrested six individuals linked to the Sinaloa Cartel for allegedly attempting to set up a cocaine trafficking scheme…

MEXICO / 2 DEC 2011

Though alluring, the idea of analyzing Mexico's drug cartels based on economic principles may be a false hope for…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela Drug Trafficking Investigation and InDepth Gender Coverage

29 APR 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime will be publishing The Cocaine Revolution in Venezuela, a groundbreaking investigation into how the Venezuelan government regulates the cocaine trade in the country. An accompanying event,…

THE ORGANIZATION

InDepth Coverage of Juan Orlando Hernández

22 APR 2022

Ever since Juan Orlando Hernández was elected president of Honduras in 2014, InSight Crime has provided coverage of every twist and turn during his rollercoaster time in office, amid growing…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution

15 APR 2022

On May 4th, InSight Crime will publish a groundbreaking investigation on drug trafficking in Venezuela. A product of three years of field research across the country, the study uncovers cocaine production in…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Widespread Coverage of InSight Crime MS13 Investigation

8 APR 2022

In a joint investigation with La Prensa Gráfica, InSight Crime recently revealed that four of the MS13’s foremost leaders had been quietly released from…

THE ORGANIZATION

Informing US State Department and European Union

1 APR 2022

InSight Crime Co-director McDermott briefed the US State Department and other international players on the presence of Colombian guerrillas in Venezuela and the implication this has for both nations.  McDermott…