Mexico's Vigilantes

Over the past few years, drug-related violence in Mexico has driven local citizens to the breaking point. Fed up with the lack of security provided by the police, and with intimidation and attacks from members of various drug cartels and criminal gangs, people have started their own self-defense groups. Armed groups of ordinary citizens have set up security checkpoints, disarmed and chased away police they considered ineffective, and even organized ambitious manhunts to apprehend or kill suspected criminal bosses. While the vigilante groups have had some success, the Mexican government is now trying to reign in the lawless aspects by integrating these citizens into a new police group called the Force Rural State -- formally providing them with weapons, uniforms, and training. While some of the vigilantes are cooperating, others insist they won't lay down their own guns until top leaders of The Knights Templar (Los Templarios) drug cartel are arrested.

Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Most Recent

  • Gabriela Bhaskar / Reuters

    Ramadan 2017 in the USA

    Images of Muslim Americans observing Eid al-Fitr and Ramadan this year in New York, Connecticut, California, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.

  • Timothy A. Clary / AFP / Getty

    Photos of the Week: 6/17–6/23

    A heatwave in Europe, floating solar farms in China, the America’s Cup in Bermuda, the Royal Highland Show in Scotland, and much more

  • Anthony Wallace / AFP / Getty

    Scenes From Hong Kong, 'Pearl of the Orient'

    Images of the vertical cityscape, street scenes, monuments, people, and natural landscapes of Hong Kong.

  • Library of Congress

    Go Fly a Kite

    In recognition of the warmer weather in the northern hemisphere, this is an invitation to take some time, go outside, and set a kite aloft.

Join the Discussion