(WatchDogReport.org) – Mexican authorities have revealed they are investigating a violent clash between a group of villagers and one of the most powerful cartels in the area, which left 14 men killed and several others injured. The incident took place in response to the extortion fees that cartel members were imposing on farmers.
The clash happened on December 8 in Mexico State’s Texcaltitlan, which has been severely affected by cartel violence over the last few years. Authorities said that four of the people killed were villagers, and the rest were members of the La Familia Michoacana cartel. Mexico State Attorney General’s Office said that the local villagers organized the attack against the criminal group.
News reports detailed that the villagers used knives, sticks, and machetes. A video that went viral on social media showed the moment right before the fighting between the two groups. The cartel gunmen were led by Rigoberto Santillan, also known as El Payaso (The Clown.) He has been considered one of the leading regional leaders of the La Familia Michoacana cartel, which has been making efforts to control not only Mexico State but also the country’s capital, Mexico City. While El Payaso disappeared after the clash, authorities believe he was killed in the fight.
Local media reported that another reason why the villagers organized an attack against the cartel was that El Payaso raped and killed a woman in the area. After the clash, the villagers set the gunmen’s vehicles on fire and burned some of their corpses. Various videos on Twitter captured the aftermath of the violent clash.
Over the last few years, Mexico has been dealing with such a rise in cartel crime and violence that many political analysts consider the Latin American nation a narco-state, where powerful cartels control towns and cities. Socialist President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has been widely criticized over his soft-line approach to the cartel and drug trafficking crisis, which has led many opposition leaders to suggest he’s controlled by a cartel kingpin.
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