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on the border line between the US and Mexico

Monday, August 15, 2022

In Video, El Machete Accuses Los Motonetos Of Murder In San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas

By "El Huaso" for Borderland Beat

On August 14, armed members of the autodefensa group 'Los Machetes' released a video blaming another criminal group for the murder of two Tzotzil indigenous men, and asking the government to investigate the matter. They say if the government is not able to bring justice, they will.

The narrator stands in the middle of about 80 heavily armed men, who are wearing balaclavas and black clothing. He addresses local authorities, asking them to investigate the murder of two men earlier this month in San Cristobal de las Casas, saying that they were innocent. The armed men also name and accuse local San Cristobal gangsters of orchestrating and carrying out the attack. According to the Los Machetes, these men are members of local criminal group Los Motonetos, and are responsible for car theft and drug dealing.

"If you are not able to capture these people, we, as an autodefensa will capture them, imposing our own laws. We dont want any more injustice in the town, we want to live in peace and tranquility with the people around us.

We want to announce to Los Motonetos, take note of this message, you should not let people who murder innocents to join you"

The event referenced in the message was a double murder which occurred on August 5, 2022 in the Nueva Esperanza neighborhood in north San Cristobal. The father and son, identified as Javier Ruiz "N" and Jose "N", were killed by gunfire while being chased by assassins on motor bikes, according to El Heraldo de Chiapas.

El Machete

InSight Crime reported that Los Machetes first surfaced in July 2021, when they released a video announcing their formation as an armed autodefensa to fight the threat of organized crime in their community of Pantelho. They formed in the wake of violence which forced thousands of indigenous peoples to flee their homes.

Last year, they overthrew the local government of their home municipality of Pantelho, and now self govern. According to local journalist Abraham Jiménez López, there is "no presence of state police, no army, no SEDENA, no national guard, no authority".

Graphic created by Hearst.

Los Motonetos

Los Motonetos, or "The Scooter Gang" is a criminal group which operates in the San Cristobal region. They are involved in extortion, drug dealing, and production of pornography. They frequently travel on motorbikes, according to local news sources.

They reached national headlines earlier this year when a large number of them descended on the northern part of the city, burning vehicles and firing shots into the air, as reported by Borderland Beat.


  1. Both sad and disheartening, when the government does nothing to protect good people...and they have to resort to vigilantism. If these vigilantes succeed in their overall mission and don't go corrupt may be an possible answer to Mexico's problems with crime and violence from narco-cartels.

    1. Bird Watcher
      We have read countless articles of innocent citizens, getting killed so easily, because the criminals know, hardly do citizens carry guns. But it would be nice that the tables were turned, and citizens shoot back and make sure they killed the criminals, don't call the police as they work together. Call 911 there's bodies of criminals on the street, but don't mention who killed them.

    2. Very sad indeed but the reality is if you do not pay those defending the people and providing security, some will start with petty piso and once they have a taste of the money, some will evolve more organized criminal activities. In the 1990s we had many kidnappings in Lagos de Moreno and after the legitimate business men that funded the mercenaries that killed the criminals tasted their power, some went from legitimate to criminal - so the people eventually killed them too which was hard because many were cousins, tíos etc

  2. Just trying to expand their influence to a larger town. If they were real autodefensas they’d keep to their town and not try to expand their influence to more valuable plazas. You don’t hear about the autodefensas of Cheran trying to control what happens in Uruapan.

    1. Where do you read about that. The article states only that they want the gob to investigate if they dont they will but nothing about expand their territory?

  3. El Huaso and Sol are cool but Hearst only replies to mens comments.

    1. Uh no I'm a female and Hearst answers my ?s. You trolling 944

    2. 9:44 I am a female too, and Hearst nicely answered my comment regarding the article.

    3. bc anonymous thinking it's guys.

  4. The pot calling the kettle black.

  5. Never ending cycle. replace, overthrow, replace overthrow, replace, overthrow. only way to stop this cycle is a major event with a lot of bloodshed. yes it sounds like the end of the world but what else can change the course of history if not massive bloodshed? Genuine strongmen can't be cultivated organically anymore. they're all consumed by fear or lust. without social media maybe a messiah steps up and takes the throne. with Tiktok on the rise i guess we'll never have a savior in mexico. Amlo sure as fuck won't save Mexico

  6. Autodefensas often sell drugs also, but pride themselves on not stealing people's property. Sitting in the town center now and about 70% of the usual crowd are absent. Just last night, I saw motorcycles, each with a passenger, driving like bats outta hell down Guadalupe Victoria. Never saw that before in San Cris.


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