- (Photo: coha.org)
Residents of a small Mexican town literally took matters into their own hands when armed vigilantes detained police officers and set up checkpoints along a major thoroughfare that passed through the town.
Local reports indicated that several hundred armed vigilantes took control of a town that is situated along a major highway that connects Mexico City to the popular tourist beach destination of Acapulco, according to the Associated Press.
The town is located in Pacific coast state of Guerrero and members of the town's police force as well as several other of the town's officials were arrested and handed over to state prosecutors, who promised to investigate the allegations of corruption and other illegal activity tied to the drug cartels.
The vigilantes sprang into action after their self-described "community police" leader Guadalupe Quinones Carbajal, 28, was killed and his body left in a nearby town.
Members of the vigilante group arrested 12 police officers as well as the town's former director of public security after accusations arose implicating those men in the death of Quinones.
Members of the group, which some reports indicate to be more than 1,500, were seen stopping cars at various checkpoints that had been set up after the detention of the town's security forces.
"We have besieged the municipality, because here criminals operate with impunity in broad daylight, in view of municipal authorities. We have detained the director of public security because he is involved with criminals and he knows who killed our commander," Bruno Placido Valerio, a spokesman for the vigilante group, said in a statement.
Placido added that teams of vigilantes had canvassed the town searching for other individuals involved with organized crime and the powerful drug cartels. They also went door to door searching homes for narcotic activity.
The violence that has gripped Mexico for the past several years has pitted ruthless members of the cartels against residents of the country's towns and cities, with some estimates stating that more than 50,000 people have died as a result of the Mexican drug war.