Mexican police have come clean about their investigation into a deadly conflict that occurred between a gang of villagers and a prominent cartel in the region. The clash resulted in the deaths of fourteen individuals and injuries to a number of others. Cartel members were demanding extortion fees from farmers, which led to the tragedy.
Texcaltitlan, a municipality in Mexico State that has been hit hard by cartel violence in recent years, was the site of the clash on December 8. The victims included members of the La Familia Michoacana cartel as well as four townspeople, according to the authorities. The local villagers allegedly planned the assault on the criminal gang, according to the Mexico State Attorney General’s Office.
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. Rigoberto Santillan, alias El Payaso (The Clown), was in charge of the cartel’s armed forces. He is said to be a top regional leader within the La Familia Michoacana cartel, which has been fighting for domination over Mexico City and Mexico State. Authorities suspect El Payaso was murdered during the altercation, however he did not reappear after the incident.
El Payaso allegedly raped and murdered a local woman, which the villagers used as justification to launch their assault on the cartel, according to local media. The locals destroyed the cars of the assailants and incinerated some of their bodies after the battle. The aftermath of the violent clash was captured in multiple videos shared on Twitter.
Many political observers view Mexico as a narco-state, where powerful cartels rule over towns and cities, because to the dramatic increase in crime and murder caused by the cartels in recent years. Opposition politicians have speculated that drug lords have influence on Socialist President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador because of his lenient stance on the drug cartel and trafficking crisis.