In response to a rise in crime over a territorial dispute between rival organized crime groups, Indigenous people from the community of San Jeronimo de Palantla created Saturday a community police force.
According the Mexican newspaper La Jornada, the first action of the newly constituted force was to detain 15 people accused of being involved in the deaths of 13 people. One person was reported killed during the operation.
San Jeronimo de Palantla is a small community of about 300 people, located in the southern Mexican state of Guerrero. It has lately experienced a surge in violence, reportedly over a dispute between Los Ardillos and Los Rojos, two organized crime groups operating in the area.
Many communities have opted to create community police forces due to a distrust of local, state, and federal police forces, which are often accused of collaborating with organized crime.
The Mexican state frowns on these groups, though sometimes it tolerates them. Meanwhile, some organized crime groups have pretended to be community police groups in order to mask their killings.
Constantino Calvario, head of the new police force in San Jeronimo de Palantla, told La Jornada this was the case in his community.
Calvario added that they first turned to the state and federal government for support to address the rising crime but were ignored, and thus resorted to creating their own force.
He accused Guerrero Governor Hector Astudillo Flores of being in cahoots with organized crime. Flores is a member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto.