arrests vigilante leader in state torn by violence
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[June 28, 2014]
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexican
authorities detained one of the most well-known leaders of vigilante
groups that have been battling drug gangs in the western Mexican state
of Michoacan, a federal official said on Friday.
Jose Mireles, a medical doctor who became one of the most visible
leaders of vigilante groups that sprung up last year, was arrested
for carrying illegal guns, Alfredo Castillo, the federal government
commissioner in the state, told Milenio TV.
Mireles was detained on Friday in the port city of Lazaro Cardenas
with 82 other people who also were allegedly carrying illegal
firearms and who planned to travel to the state capital of Morelia,
Michoacan has been ravaged by the Knights Templar drug cartel, which
had controlled much of the state until an uprising by armed
vigilantes that began early last year.
The government first appeared to tacitly accept the vigilante
groups, but earlier this year authorities formed so-called rural
police forces to incorporate the vigilantes and said anyone found
carrying illegal weapons would be arrested.
President Enrique Pena Nieto sent in military forces in January to
restore order in the state. Since then, troops have captured and
killed several leaders of the Knights Templar gang.
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More than 85,000 people have died in drug-related killings in Mexico
since 2007, when former President Felipe Calderon sent out the army
to battle cartels.
(Reporting by Miguel Angel Gutierrez and Michael O'Boyle; Editing by
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