Group of Vigilantes Seize, Disarm Local Police in Mexican Town
CHILAPA, Mexico, May 11 (UPI) — The Mexican army was sent to the town of Chilapa after nearly 300 people armed with rifles and other weapons disarmed local police and looted several businesses.
The army was sent in to retake control on Saturday night, the government announced Sunday.
About 30 men with rifles “disarmed and locked in the policemen who were on duty, and took all the weapons, armor and equipment,” according to a statement by the Government Secretariat of the Mexican state of Guerrero.
The streets were empty as people sought refuge in their homes, which some looters took as the opportunity to ransack businesses.
Some of the men were seen patrolling the streets of the town on Sunday, apparently to secure it. One of the leaders of the gunmen said he offered his support to the soldiers and said his men were trying to protect the population of Chilapa from insecurity caused by drug cartels.
The crowds were armed with rifles, machetes and sticks. Chilapa has a population of about 31,000 people.
A mayoral candidate was killed in May in Chilapa. The “Los Ardillos” and the “Los Rojos” drug trafficking gangs are fighting for territory and have had multiple confrontations in the region in the recent days.
Guerrero Gov. Rogelio Ortega recently acknowledged that Chilapa is facing serious security issues. Guerrero is dealing with the presence of multiple drug cartels and high levels of poverty.
In November, 11 burned and decapitated bodies were found near a rural road in Chilapa. The bodies, along with a message from the perpetrators, were discovered by local authorities.
A sign read, “Here goes your trash” followed by expletives, and allegedly signed by a criminal gang.