HomeNewsBriefWest Mexico Vigilantes Form Unified Command
BRIEF

West Mexico Vigilantes Form Unified Command

MEXICO / 26 FEB 2013 BY HANNAH STONE EN

Vigilante groups in Guerrero state, west Mexico, have announced plans to band together under a unified command, in an effort to gain legitimacy and recognition from the government.

At a public meeting in the village of Brasilia on February 24, representatives of the new group announced that it would bring together "community police" from 20 villages around Acapulco and Coyuca de Benitez. A spokesman said that the people had decided to declare the area a "crime-free territory," and that the new force would begin patrols and set up security checkpoints the following week, reported Milenio. Their aim is to expand to include another 60 communities in the area.

The spokesman, Carlos Garcia Jimenez, pointed out that the group was independent from the firmly established self-defense forces in the mostly indigenous "Costa Chica" region of the state, and from the municipal authorities, reported El Informador.

Jimenez made several claims to legitimacy for the group, pointing out that though its formation was  a response to the current situation of insecurity, self-defense forces have been operating in the area for more than six years. He also denied the group was a guerrilla organization, and said he wanted it to work towards legal recognition as a "community police force," and that its aim was for local communities to be recognized as a fourth level of government in Mexico.

InSight Analysis

Developments elsewhere in the country made the wishes for recognition of the Guerrero group seem within reach. In Chiapas, south Mexico, some 60 local ranchers and farmers were sworn in last week as members of a Rural Forces Squad (PFR), meant to work alongside local and federal police, reported La Jornada.

Government officials explained to La Jornada that the unit was set up at the request of local farmers, because the police in the area lack the resources to combat crime -- particularly cattle rustling -- with only 60 municipal police for a population of 50,000. The force will carry out patrols, but is meant to refer any crime apart from cattle theft to the appropriate authority.

The men are given arms and uniforms by the government, but will not be paid a wage.

However, in Michoacan, residents complained of armed masked men setting up road blocks and check points in the night, and in one area preventing municipal police from patrolling.

Community self-defense forces in Guerrero have been hitting the headlines in recent weeks, as they have increased their activity in response to surging crime in the area, and the government’s inability to guarantee security. The authorities have taken a conciliatory stance towards these groups, making agreements for the members to remove their masks and hand over criminal suspects, while members of Congress have proposed giving them legal recognition.

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

BELTRAN LEYVA ORG / 18 NOV 2020

Authorities in Mexico will face one of their biggest anti-corruption tests yet after a bombshell deal was brokered with the…

MEXICO / 19 APR 2021

The shuttering of a state prison in Mexico is an unconventional response by officials trying to combat poor living conditions…

BELIZE / 10 AUG 2021

The leader of a transnational money laundering network cleaned drug money through a scheme that included casinos, a seafood export…

About InSight Crime

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Extensive Coverage of our Chronicles of a Cartel Bodyguard

23 SEP 2022

Our recent investigation, A Cartel Bodyguard in Mexico’s 'Hot Land', has received extensive media coverage.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime, American University Host Illegal Fishing Panel

19 SEP 2022

InSight Crime and the Center for Latin American & Latino Studies (CLALS) at American University discussed the findings of a joint investigation on IUU fishing at a September 9 conference.

THE ORGANIZATION

Impact on the Media Landscape

9 SEP 2022

InSight Crime’s first investigation on the Dominican Republic made an immediate impact on the Dominican media landscape, with major news outlets republishing and reprinting our findings, including in …

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Sharpens Its Skills

2 SEP 2022

Last week, the InSight Crime team gathered for our annual retreat in Colombia, where we discussed our vision and strategy for the next 12 months.  During the week, we also learned how to…

THE ORGANIZATION

Colombia’s Fragile Path to Peace Begins to Take Shape

26 AUG 2022

InSight Crime is charting the progress of President Gustavo Petro’s agenda as he looks to revolutionize Colombia’s security policy, opening dialogue with guerrillas, reforming the military and police, and…