Mexican Authorities Arrest Leader of Michoacán’s Self-Defense Groups

EspañolOn Friday, Mexican authorities announced the arrest of José Manuel Mireles, founder and former spokesman of the self-defense groups of Michoacán. The arrest, a joint operation by the Mexican army, navy, and federal police, took place in municipality of Lázaro Cárdenas, Michoacan. Authorities also detained 82 of Mireles’s men.

In a twitter post, the General Attorney of Michoacán claims the self-defense group members “violated the Federal Firearms and Explosives Act.”

As a result of the operation, the state agents seized 68 firearms, 20 vehicles, cartridges, and clips.

Mireles arrived in Lázaro Cárdenas on Thursday accompanied by approximately 600 people and accused the Mexican federal government of “giving uniforms to criminals,” alluding to the former self-defense group members that authorities turned into state rural police officers.

Since the emergence of self-defense groups, the federal government of Mexico has stepped in and encouraged these armed civilians to formally join the “rural police force.” Earlier this year, Mireles, a physician by trade, opposed an agreement struck between the majority of self-defense groups and the federal government.

His criticisms cost him his post as the spokesman of the so-called community guards, a similar self-defense group.

Self-defense groups emerged in Michoacán in February 2013 as a reaction to the abuses from Los Caballeros Templarios (the Knights Templar drug cartel) and the Mexican government’s inability to ensure security for the local population.

Sources: BBC Mundo, NTN24, CNN México.

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