Blog dedicated to reporting on Mexican drug cartels
on the border line between the US and Mexico

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Community Police in Guerrero : "We are the majority who want tranquility, this is another revolution"

Translated by El Profe for Borderland Beat from Debate
Photo: Pedro Pardo
Two brothers join the community police after being kidnapped by La Familia Michoacana in the state of Guerrero

Tlacotepec, Mexico, 12 Apr 2018 (AFP) - In the mountains of the violent Mexican state of Guerrero (south), an almost repetitive story is heard among the armed civilians patrolling the area: "I was kidnapped by organized crime and that's why I raise arms."

Juan Carlos Ramos, 30, tells that story. Immersed in the violent vortex of Guerrero with a balance of 2,318 murders in 2017 - the largest figure in all of Mexico, which recorded its bloodiest year in two decades - houses Teloloapan, his native town, with rifle in hand and pistol in his belt.

"I was kidnapped seven months by the Familia Michoacana , my brother was kidnapped four months," Ramos told AFP, referring to the criminal group that was operating in the neighboring state of Michoacán. I was just released by the military.

For Ramos, who usually works in a mechanic's shop and today is uniformed in khaki as if going to a battle in the desert, his kidnapping was reason enough to join his brother in the community police.

We are the majority who want tranquility, he says. "It's another revolution," adds his brother Luis Alberto, a 32-year-old transporter, also armed.

Members of the Guerrero Community Police attend a meeting in Tlacotepec, 
municipality of Heliodoro Castillo, Guerrero state, Mexico, 
on March 24, 2018. AFP
In Guerrero, movements similar to community policing have been launched since 1995, when the Regional Coordinator of 
Community Authorities (CRAC) was created, which subsequently formed its own justice system.

With the wave of violence linked to organized crime, more groups of armed civilians appeared throughout the state with the aim of preventing the harassment of criminals.

"They kidnapped my wife, la Familia Michoacana, and then kidnapped my son," says Misael Figueroa, 46, a teacher who became one of Apaxtla's community police leaders.

For Figueroa, who speaks swiftly as if someone were chasing him, the community police "is a second revolution,” after the heroism of 1910 - the "Mexican Revolution" - when peasants rose up against a government completely removed from the popular classes, immersed in misery and marginalization.

In mid-March, hundreds of community police gathered in the town of Tlacotepec to demand that the state government put an end to the violence. There were Figueroa and the Ramos brothers.

The community filled the streets of the town carrying rustic rifles and even the occasional assault rifle. Some had, as if by instinct, their finger on the trigger, others let the gun rest on their back.

The three men arrived in pick-up trucks, marched through the drab streets where there were only two unarmed policemen until they reached a small bullring, where they heard the declamations of their leaders.
A member of the police community of Guerrero in an illegal field of 
poppies in Heliodoro Castillo, Guerrero,
 on March 25, 2018. AFP
Community Police patrolling neighborhoods in Heliodoro Castillo, March 25 2018.AFP

According to the coordinators, in the municipality of Heliodoro Castillo, where Tlacotepec is located, there are 1,500 community policemen. Together with those from nearby towns such as Mezcala, Cocula, Apaxtla and Teloloapan, they reach almost 7,000.

Many say they subsist on donations given by the communities they protect.

However, each group of community members has its particularities.

Some must face the constant onslaught of bands dedicated to kidnapping and extortion. Others act by bordering on criminality because several of its members admit that they cultivate poppy, from which opium gum is obtained, a precursor to heroin.

In Guerrero, also one of the poorest states in Mexico, poppy cultivation is the subsistence of many families.

One of the coordinators of the community police of Tlacotepec, whose identity is withheld for security reasons, accepts that in that town there is a group dedicated to the poppy with which they coexist peacefully. He does not kidnap or extort, he says, but "protects his people."

The armed community members accompany the AFP route through the poppy fields, whose picturesque view, with a pink hue, breaks the monotony of the landscape of the mountains.
The leader also claims that there are no options in that area of Guerrero.

“Bastards, how do not they put a fucking company here or a factory so that people no longer cultivate that thing?”
                        Photo: AFP

Some 80 km from Tlacotepec, Misael Figueroa and other members of the Apaxtla community police have to fight kidnapping and extortion.

“The only thing we want is for us to return what we had, the peace of mind that we had,” he says while performing a night watch at a security post.

Several community members confess that they dream of setting aside their weapons and returning to their jobs.

"It is not a good life to be living with this tension,” says Laurencio Miranda, a 45-year-old teacher who now wears a vest, rifle and pistol.

"The authorities have their role, us, the pen and the tools,” she adds. 

But the time to put down the weapons in this state seems far away: in the first two months of 2018 there were 367 homicides in Guerrero.

"Someday, that's my hope, I'll be able to put away my weapon and live quietly," says Juan Carlos Ramos.


  1. A la Minsa le dieron 43años de prision un juez en Texas.

  2. My heart goes out to those making an effort to stand up to the criminal groups. I have been out of that area for more than 3 years now. "Mass Cuidado" should send shivers up your spine when you realize that the pueblo is being hit by a mass kidnapping from the gropos malo.

  3. There needs to be another revolution. Read the link below. This is absolutely disgusting. A refrigerated truck was found with 30 children inside. The truck was being protected in route by two elements of the federal police.

    1. @3:58 Thanks for the link. It is a horrific story but it is from Dec. 2016. Not exactly news. I checked the BB archives and we did not publish the story for whatever reason. Maybe we couldn't verify it from other sources or maybe the source was a Dominican Republic website.

    2. Organ harvesting is real people. Its been going on for quite some time now. - Sol Prendido


    This is a more informative article about the killed and dismembered children, minus their organs. It is time for a revolution and get rid of the corrupt police and government officials. The death penalty should be available for the two federal officers, the driver and the people that did this.

  5. Off Topic: The US State Department and the FBI added RCQ as their most wanted fugitive offering a staggering 20 million cash reward for his body dead or alive. He is going to be really running scared now when one of his henchmen execute him and collect the bounty. $20,000,000 DEAD or ALIVE. His body will be dumped at the border by rivals out to hunt him down now or even someone from inside his criminal cell for that kind of cash.

    1. Would you trust them to pay??

  6. Cartel members, or better put with their proper subhuman designation, the "Carteloid" loves killing little children because it is the ultimate power hold. A coked up evil horny bastard with high powered rifles vs an 8 year old girl. There's plenty of stories of how the Cartels do annual raids on the poorer Mexican villages and kidnap dozens of girls as young as 6 to be used as their own personal sex slaves. Truly sick.

  7. 365 murders in Guerrero in two months? 5 murders in TJ per day? Weren't there 80,000 murders NOT including another 40,000 "disappearances" AKA murders in Mexico in 2017? Why do Mexicans pretend they are not being exterminated the by the Cartels?

  8. Great job autodefensas, the least the government of Mexico can do, is furnished confiscated guns and rifles from captured Cartels. I am in for donating my AR-15, with 10 banana clips.

  9. Kill the roach infested Cartels, all in favor of defense groups.

  10. "Bastards, how do not they put a fucking company here or a factory so that people no longer cultivate that thing?"
    Wheres all the heroes with the glib statements about "get a real job,easy money,pick a different way to make a living,criminality" That kind of shit,here are people who have no other choice but to raise poppy.We can argue about the morality and whys and wherefores but the fact remains the same,there is nothing else to make a living.
    If it gets too organized and regimented with many people and states watch how much resources the Mex gob will all of a sudden throw at the problem.Not to make long lasting change but just to continue the status quo.

  11. If mexico would pass common Sense gun laws this would all stop!! -david hogg


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