HomeNewsBriefMexico Vigilantes Financed by US Residents Amid Renewed Violence
BRIEF

Mexico Vigilantes Financed by US Residents Amid Renewed Violence

KNIGHTS TEMPLAR / 7 FEB 2014 BY MIMI YAGOUB EN

Mexico nationals living in the United States are helping fund the country's ever-growing self-defense militias, while recent gruesome murders indicate the internal armed conflict will not be calming down any time soon.

According to Fusion TV, Mexican immigrants living in California have sent up to $250,000 in the past three months to vigilante groups in Michoacan, bolstering their ongoing battle against the Knights Templar criminal organization. The news follows a recent LA Times report that some US-based Mexican nationals have returned to their homeland to join the vigilantes.

Fundraisers interviewed by Fusion said the money does not go towards acquiring weapons; it is used for humanitarian aid, essential supplies and financial support for widows of the conflict, as well as assisting with the medical costs of a vigilante leader hurt in a plane crash.

This news comes as reports emerge of a possible violent backlash from the Knights Templar, who have been under severe pressure from vigilantes and state security forces. Various media reports have indicated the recent discovery of four severed heads in an indigenous settlement in Michoacan may be linked to the group. However, AFP reported the heads were found with a note indicating the decapitations were the work of Knights Templar opponents.

InSight Crime Analysis

Reports that Mexicans living in the United States are sending large quantities of money to the vigilantes emphasizes the popularity these groups enjoy in the regions where they operate. Years of corruption, alleged collusion with organized crime, and ineffectiveness in fighting criminal groups has destroyed people's faith in local law enforcement and recent related violence led the national government to send in state forces to restore order.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Knights Templar

While this latest report demonstrates the support enjoyed by the vigilantes, it is also another worrying sign of their growing power. As the government has moved to place these groups in a legal framework, analysts and academics have called for caution based on concerns they could evolve into dangerous paramilitary forces. The recent revelation that mining companies pay these groups for protection also echoes the path trodden by Colombia's paramilitaries, which received protection fees from oil companies. 

The apparent attempt by the Knights Templar to reassert themselves following the arrests of important leaders suggests the worst of the conflict is yet to come, and with the vigilantes receiving financial backing from various sides, the question remains whether the government can keep them in check if the violence escalates.  

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

COLOMBIA / 22 DEC 2022

InSight Crime's GameChangers 2022 looks back at the most consequential criminal stories across Latin America this year.

FENTANYL / 6 JAN 2023

Mexico's Familia Michoacana are back in the headlines again. But is it the same cartel as the one that fell…

COCAINE / 7 MAR 2023

The US State Department's annual narcotics report sees coca cultivation spreading, while Colombia remains the top cocaine supplier to the…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela Coverage Continues to be Highlighted

3 MAR 2023

This week, InSight Crime co-director Jeremy McDermott was the featured guest on the Americas Quarterly podcast, where he provided an expert overview of the changing dynamics…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Organized Crime Top 10 Attracts Attention

24 FEB 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published its ranking of Venezuela’s ten organized crime groups to accompany the launch of the Venezuela Organized Crime Observatory. Read…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime on El País Podcast

10 FEB 2023

This week, InSight Crime co-founder, Jeremy McDermott, was among experts featured in an El País podcast on the progress of Colombia’s nascent peace process.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Interviewed by Associated Press

3 FEB 2023

This week, InSight Crime’s Co-director Jeremy McDermott was interviewed by the Associated Press on developments in Haiti as the country continues its prolonged collapse. McDermott’s words were republished around the world,…

THE ORGANIZATION

Escaping Barrio 18

27 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an investigation charting the story of Desafío, a 28-year-old Barrio 18 gang member who is desperate to escape gang life. But there’s one problem: he’s…