Vigilantes Take Mexico Town in Fight With Cartel

Say they're headed for cartel headquarters
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jan 13, 2014 11:57 AM CST
Vigilantes disarm municipal policemen during an operation to flush out alleged members of the Knights Templar drug cartel from the town of Nueva Italia, Mexico, Sunday, Jan. 12, 2014.   (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)
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(Newser) – More than 100 vigilantes poured into a western Mexico town yesterday, disarming police and battling with alleged cartel members before eventually taking control of the town of Nueva Italia. Upon arrival in Nueva Italia, they were welcomed, the AP reports. But gunfire soon began in the town's center and eventually spread. At least one injury was reported. Vigilantes, who say they're fighting cartels after police and military have failed to do so, have taken over several towns in Michoacan state.

They say they're pushing toward the headquarters of the Knights Templar cartel in Apatzingan. While residents of the Michoacan town of Paracuaro reportedly backed them at first, the locals eventually rioted against them but were unable to drive them out, the BBC reports. Some believe the vigilante group actually supports another cartel, New Generation, which has been involved in a turf war with the Knights Templar. The vigilantes themselves claim no ties to the New Generation cartel; they counter that local authorities are backing the Knights Templar. Meanwhile, the state governor says he's seeking more help from Mexico's federal government to restore peace. (Read more Mexico stories.)

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