By: Rubén Mosso
The relatives of the 34 people who were detained by the Mexican army for allegedly being linked to organized crime by acting as community guards for the community Felipe Carrillo Puerto (La Ruana), in Michoacán, requested for the intervention of President Enrique Peña Nieto to release the detainees, because they say that they are innocent.
Farmers who demonstrated outside the Assistant Attorney General's Office for Special Investigations on Organized Crime (SIEDO) reported that the firearms that their relatives had were seized from the Knights Templar Cartel, who live within the community and have also committed a series of abuses against the community.
The wives, mothers, sisters, and other relatives warned that in case they don’t receive support from the president, they will take matters into their own hands by arming themselves in order to defend their community from various criminal groups operating in the area of Michoacán.
“Release the guys that you brought, they’re innocent, they are people like us, lemon harvesters, who left their family, wives to their children. They seized the weapons in order to defend us from the Knights Templar Cartel, simply because it was too much what they were doing,” said one woman.
--What were they doing?
--“They increased the price of tortillas and meat. They were charging us for each box of lemons that we packed, they would take a portion. We would work three days a week, with those three days, do you think that we were going to be able to support our children and apart from that they would take away our money.”
The complaint mentioned that the owners of the trucks that would transport the lemons had to pay “Los Templarios” 200 pesos per car, a situation for those who would harvest lemons, their payments would go down, plus they also had to pay to work.
--Who gave the weapons to the guys?
--“They took them from “Los Caballeros”. In La Ruana, we caught “Caballeros”, when we started to rise up in arms we were all saying: there lives a guy; he’s a “Caballero”. We would all go and take their weapons away.”
They commented that the municipal and state police in those zones are “leaders” of the Knight Templar Cartel, so they decided to go and also take their weapons, bullet-proof vests, and trucks away.
--“The weapons that the guys had belong to the Knights Templar Cartel.”
The complainants say that their families do not have a lawyer, or even a public defender. They were informed that they would be transferred to jails in Matamoros, Veracruz, and the state of Mexico.
Last week at a press conference, both officials from the Secretariat of Governance (SEGOB) and the PGR said that the detainees were armed by the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (Cártel de Jalisco Nueva Generación), a group linked to the drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán.
Family members have not determined whether they will be staying at the outskirts of the SIEDO, but they do ensure that they will insist federal agencies for the release of those detained, as they called it an outrage.
Source: Milenio - Rubén Mosso