Mexican Vigilante Groups Can Now Legally Fight Cartels With Force
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It’s been a long, hard road for Mexican vigilante groups who have been fighting the drug cartels of Mexico for years now.
The groups have long been self managed, unofficial, and underarmed, but have carried on the fight against the better armed, more organized cartels. Many of these groups have had success in reducing or eliminating cartel activities in certain areas.
However, recently, the Mexican government has been threatening to crack down on the groups, who are mostly operating outside of the law in regards to their actions and firearm ownership.
In a recent deal reached with the Mexican government, the groups will officially become part of the government and will work alongside existing authorities. In exchange, the groups will be granted amnesty for any past vigilante activities and will be allowed to keep their firearms (they should get to keep them anyway IMO).
According to Yahoo News,
Scores of farmers lined up at a cattle ranch to receive the uniforms of the newly created rural state police force in Tepalcatapec, one of the towns that founded the self-defence militias in the lush agricultural state of Michoacan.
The units were also making their début in the neighbouring town of Buenavista, which revolted in February 2013 against the cult-like Knights Templars gang because local police failed to protect them.
“With this we become legal,” said the white-bearded vigilante leader Estanislao Beltran, nicknamed “Papa Smurf,” after slipping into his blue uniform. “We are part of the government.”
The new rural police officers then sang the national anthem at a formal swearing-in ceremony in the town square.
The federal government, which had tolerated the vigilantes, has warned that anybody found carrying weapons illegally after Saturday’s deadline to join the police will be arrested.
But vigilante leaders said they still had to hash out details on pay and who would be in command, though they would work alongside the regular state police.
I guess this is a good thing since the groups can continue their efforts against the cartels, but it still isn’t moving in the right direction as far as private citizen’s right to keep and bear arms goes.