Michoacan’s bloody “Family”: anti-narco vigilantes?

From AP, Nov. 25:

MEXICO CITY: A violent Mexican drug gang took out a rare, half-page ad in newspapers in which they claimed to be anti-crime vigilantes who wanted to stop kidnapping, robbery and the sale of methamphetamine in the western Mexican state of Michoacan.

The Family, a shadowy group believed to be allied to Mexico’s Gulf drug cartel, has claimed responsibility in the past for bloody killings, such as a September 6 attack in which gunmen dumped five severed human heads into a bar in the Michoacan city of Uruapan.

Those and other heads discovered since have been accompanied by hand-lettered, poorly spelled notes, but it was apparently the first time the group had taken out newspaper ads.

The newspaper El Sol of Morelia, 135 miles west of Mexico City, confirmed that the half-page ad ran in Wednesday’s editions.

“Our only reason for being is that we love our state, and we are not willing to allow the dignity of our people to be trampled on,” according to the ad, signed “Sincerely, The Michoacan Family.”

“This organisation was formed with the firm intention of fighting the uncontrolled crime in our state,” it said, claiming the group was “growing, and now covers the whole state.”

The ads blamed the violence and crime in largely rural Michoacan on “the Milenio cartel, and some people named Valencia, and some gangs like the ’30 Gang,’ who have terrorised much of the state since the 1980s up to the present day.”

The Family appears to be fighting the Milenio Cartel, which in turn is believed to be allied with the Sinaloa Cartel, for control of drug trafficking routes in Michoacan.

But the Family’s advertisement said it was against the sale of “ice,” or methamphetamine, “because it is one of the worst drugs doing irreversible damage to our society.”

See our last posts on Mexico and the narco crisis and Michoacan.