Oct 29, 2012

Fearing drug cartel, Mexico village turns vigilante

By Laurent Thomet (AFP)

URAPICHO, Mexico — At the entrance of this western Mexican village, farmers in ski masks carry rifles as they man a checkpoint to protect their people, fearful that a drug cartel may strike at any time.

Urapicho, a hillside village surrounded by forests, corn fields and cow pastures, has become the latest community in the western state of Michoacan to take security in its own hands against the menace of organized crime.

The decision by the residents of Urapicho to turn into a vigilante village highlights the state of fear that many Mexicans live in amid a brutal drug war, and their distrust of local police.

"The barricade is there to prevent anybody who wants to hurt the population from coming in," said a 52-year-old corn farmer, who like others in Urapicho refused to give his name for fear of retaliation.

People in this village of 1,500 say they were at peace until the bodies of two suspected drug cartel members turned up on the road leading up to Urapicho in August. Read more. 

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