HomeNewsBriefMexican Authorities Accuse Vigilantes of Drug Cartel Ties
BRIEF

Mexican Authorities Accuse Vigilantes of Drug Cartel Ties

JALISCO CARTEL / 8 MAR 2013 BY MARGUERITE CAWLEY EN

Mexican authorities have accused a vigilante group in southwest Mexico of being a front for a drug cartel, in what could be a sign of criminal infiltration of the self-defense groups, or just a smear from the threatened security forces.

The claims followed the arrests of at least 30 members of a self-proclaimed “community police” force in an army operation in Buenavista Tomatlan municipality, northern Michoacan state.

The raid freed the local police director and five other officers who the group had been holding captive after abducting them a week before. The group had announced previously that the six police would be submitted to a “public trial,” reported Proceso.

In a press conference, members of the Secretary of National Defense (Sedena) said they believed that the suspects, some of whom are minors, were armed by the Jalisco Cartel – New Generation (Cartel de Jalisco – Nueva Generacion). Other reports identified the group as full-blown members of the cartel or even as drug traffickers posing as members of self-defense groups.

At the time of their arrest, the group were carrying high caliber firearms — some used exclusively by the military — including AK-47s, assault rifles, and so-called “cop-killer” pistols — so named for their ability to pierce bulletproof vests.

A total of 47 weapons were confiscated during the operation, and Sedena officials said they would be used as evidence to demonstrate the group’s ties to drug traffickers.

InSight Crime Analysis

As calls have grown for the legalization of civilian self-defense groups in west Mexico, and some vigilante groups have actively sought legal recognition, concerns have grown that these groups could morph into paramilitary organizations, or develop ties to criminal gangs. If the authorities’ claims that the group in Michoacan were working for a cartel are true, then it would confirm these fears.

Reports that the group was so well-equipped and heavily armed lend credence to the authorities’ allegations. However, it also cannot be ruled out the claims are false and designed to undermine the vigilantes and provide justification for bringing the group down. The fact that the group were holding police captive and threatening to try them in public would certainly provide ample motivation for the security forces to move against them.

Compartir icon icon icon

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.

Related Content

AYOTZINAPA / 18 AUG 2015

A commission conducting an investigation into the disappearance of 43 students in Mexico has denounced the government for withholding evidence,…

MEXICO / 12 SEP 2012

Mexican police arrested and extradited a US citizen who has been accused of ties to Hezbollah, raising questions about the…

MEXICO / 20 JAN 2016

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

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…