By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor
The government of Mexico demobilized a vigilante group fighting the drug cartel Knights Templar in the State of Michoacan. The group, consisting of manly ranchers and farmers, was successful in largely expelling the cartel while the government was not able.
At a ceremony in the city of Tepalcatepec, where the group began in February of 2013, uniformed members of the now official Self-Defense Council of Michoacan (CAM) were assigned arms and uniforms. 120 officers were sworn in as a rural police force.
The group’s spokesman, Estanislao Beltran proclaimed. “Now we are part of the government. Now we can defend ourselves with weapons in a legal way.”
There are hopes in the government the creation of this new police force will end the lawlessness in the state and the vigilantism of the civilian population. The federal commissioner for Michoacan, Alfredo Castillo said that action would be taken now against “false self-defense groups” but said of the CAM “[You] will have the responsibility of defending your neighbors from delinquency and organized crime.”