The way to a Mexican gang leader's heart isn't his stomach—it's his mom. At least, that's what vigilantes in a Mexican town in southern Guerrero state are banking on, holding hostage the mother of drug kingpin Raybel Jacobo de Almonte, aka "El Tequilero," as well as about two dozen other people thought to be in his gang, the AP reports. The ongoing incident in the municipality of San Miguel Totolapan has included mass kidnappings of Totolapan residents by de Almonte's gang, including Sunday's abduction of engineer Isauro de la Paz Duque. "We have your mother here, Mr. Tequilero," de la Paz Duque's wife said on a video Monday. "I propose an exchange: I'll give you your mother if you give me my husband, but I want him safe and sound." Five of the townspeople's abductees have reportedly been freed already, though de Almonte's mother doesn't appear to be one.
The vigilantes took to the street Sunday waving guns and anti-de Almonte banners, per a video. "We urgently demand the release of the kidnap victims," a masked man says. "We are a legitimate self-defense force of the people." By Monday, de Almonte's mother had been abducted, Mexico News Daily reports. But though officials understand that residents are fed up with crime, they're discouraging the rogue assistance. "[These] are armed groups that unfortunately carry out acts … that generate more violence and confrontation," Guerrero Gov. Hector Astudillo tells the AP. "This is something that has to end—that every time somebody gets the idea into their head of kidnapping somebody, they kidnap them." A government team has convinced the vigilantes to let them manage the swap of de Almonte's mom for de la Paz Duque, as well as to release remaining hostages to the cops. (A massive abduction took place at an upscale Mexican restaurant.)