Self-defense groups are declaring war against the most powerful cartel in Mexico and bravely attempting to retake occupied land.
The Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) is becoming the main gang in the country and is smuggling vast amounts of drugs into the US.
The CJNG invaded the central state of Michoacan around September 2019 to take on the Cartel del Abuelo in Tepalcatepec.
In the war, nearby cities and villages have become involved, with locals taking up arms to protect themselves.
Last month, one of these groups managed to repel a CJNG assault while riding in an improvised armored fighting vehicle, known locally as an autodefensa (IAFV).
In La Bocanda, one of their outposts, CJNG soldiers began firing, but the locals managed to prevent the cartel from advancing.
Dr Robert J Bunker, Research & Analysis Chief, C/O Futures, LLC, told the Daily Star that to protect their territories from cartels, they use “localized strong point defenses and the cutting of road networks with trenches.”
In addition, the use of some forward bases and offensive mobile forces to take back cartels captured villages, he added, explaining their strategy.
Attempts to get the press in to broadcast the deprivations of CJNG that are taking place.
“As the Mexican Federal Government has done nothing to protect its population, the region has turned into a Dark Ages-like scenario with farmers taking up arms.”
However, with many of its participants going through military-style training, the CJNG has years of experience.
“Their arsenal includes heavy and medium machine guns, launched grenades, and RPGs,” Dr Bunker added. In their commando groups, IAFVs are frequent.
“ISR drone use, including for propaganda purposes, starting with some CJNG weaponized drone use.”
In comparison, older firearms, including shotguns, hunting files, and handguns, are usually fitted for the militias.
Other assault rifles have begun to appear among the classes, but “less common” is armor vests.
In addition to the CJNG and protecting militias in conflict with each other, rival cartels and gangs as well as local, state, and federal police and military forces are at play, Dr. Bunker added.
“Given the high levels of police corruption that exist and the constant penetration of militias by cartels and/or the danger of these militias turning into organized criminal groups, alliances between these groups are constantly ebbing and flowing.”
A congressman was gunned down at a Mexican beach resort last month, with the CJNG suspected to be behind the attack.
At a restaurant in the town of Puerto Vallarta, Aristoteles Sandoval, 46, was shot in the back as he went to the toilet.