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

CANADA / 13 DEC 2021

The story of the Mexican cartels and their influence abroad has mostly focused on the United States. But a number…

GENDER AND CRIME / 21 SEP 2022

Accused drug trafficker Sandra Ávila Beltrán is demanding she be paid royalties for the “Queen of the South” Netflix series.

MEXICO / 16 APR 2021

After the discovery of several elaborate tunnels used to siphon fuel to two hidden warehouses, it's clear that Mexico's gas…

About InSight Crime

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…

THE ORGANIZATION

Europe Coverage Makes a Splash

20 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an analysis of the role of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport as an arrival hub for cocaine and methamphetamine from Mexico.  The article was picked up by…

THE ORGANIZATION

World Looks to InSight Crime for Mexico Expertise

13 JAN 2023

Our coverage of the arrest of Chapitos’ co-founder Ovidio Guzmán López in Mexico has received worldwide attention.In the UK, outlets including The Independent and BBC…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Shares Expertise with US State Department

16 DEC 2022

Last week, InSight Crime Co-founder Steven Dudley took part in the International Anti-Corruption Conference organized by the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor and…

THE ORGANIZATION

Immediate Response to US-Mexico Marijuana Investigation

9 DEC 2022

InSight Crime’s investigation into how the legalization of marijuana in many US states has changed Mexico’s criminal dynamics made a splash this week appearing on the front page of…