The Mexican state of Michoacan is facing an unprecedented wave of violence.
Since January, more than 800 homicides have been recorded there, making it Mexico’s most violent state.
While criminal groups wage a war to control territory, the state’s residents pay a heavy price: kidnappings, murders, and forced displacements.
A few local men have decided to stand up to organized crime by leading a vigilante group.
For many other residents, though, exile is the only viable choice.
Extortion of avocado growers in Michoacan has gotten so bad that 500 vigilantes from a so-called “self-defense” group known as United Towns, or Pueblos Unidos, have gathered to aid the army, police and the national guard.
The vigilantes in the western state of Michoacan, have armed themselves with AR-15s and other rifles, as well as a motley collection of shotguns.
They said that drug cartels like the Viagras and the Jalisco New Generation cartel have been charging avocado growers “protection fees” for years now.
Source: La Voz de Michoacan