Mexican Drug Cartel: Vigilantes vs. Templar
As federal police officers and military troops stand on the street corners of small towns as guards with assault rifles at the ready, a picture of the drug cartel issue shows its true colors. Thousands of these police officials and military troops have been making arrests on suspected drug cartel members. They have also been “disarming untrustworthy local police officers.”
The compilation of troops has discouraged the vigilante groups in the Mexican state of Michoacan from fighting the Knight Templar drug cartel on their own. President Enrique Pena Nieto’s goal has been to avoid the domestic disaster that would take place if the separate groups were to collide.
Recently, the risk of social violence has been at an all-time high, considerably in the agricultural region known as Tierra Caliente. In the last month, shots were fired at the office of the federal prosecutor, injuring a 25-year-old window washer.
The residents of Michoacan interpreted the shooting as a violent protest conducted on the behalf of the allies of the Knights Templar. The city where these acts are taking place, Apatzingan, is an important base of operations.
A recent case of arson against a pharmacy in Apatzingan reaffirmed some residents suspicions that the federal government is either “unwilling or unable to stamp out the Knights Templar.” This group has been known for using terrorism and extortion to control majority of the commerce in Michoacan. The cartel has successfully infiltrated numerous local governments.
Due to the lack of action or protection on the behalf of troops who are present in Apatzingan, the residents have instilled their faith in the self-defense groups. These groups have been “staffing roadblocks alongside federal police on the outskirts of town.”
A violent shutdown between the vigilante self-defense groups and the drug cartel operatives seemed unavoidable in Nuevo Italia. These self-defense groups have declared themselves in control, and managed to disarm the local police.
According to a statement released by the federal government, police or military personnel have been assigned to every municipality in the southern portion of the state. Officials also said the arrests of Joaquin Negrete and Jorge Fabian Quezada, two alleged cartel leaders, were made.
– Samaria Garrett