Cartel Torches Mexican State, Extorts Farmers For ProtectionBy: Zach Walton - May 23, 2013
Cartels are still a major problem in Mexico. One particular group has even taken up torching one prominent farming state.
The AP reports that the Knights Templar cartel is terrorizing the Western Mexican state of Michoacan by burning pretty much everything in sight. The group has so far targeted lumber yards, packing plants and even passenger buses in their reign of terror.
Like most organized crime units, this particular cartel is offering to spare farmers if they pay protection money. Some are resisting while others are pleading with the government to help. One such farmer, Alejandro Ayala, sought help from the government and was promptly killed by the cartel for his actions.
The government responded shortly thereafter by sending troops to the region, but it seems to have not helped matters all that much. In response, local farmers have set up vigilante groups to fight the cartels on their own. This has not worked out so well for them as the Mexican government is now arresting members of these vigilante groups as well.
The current conflict has impacted the supply of limes and other produce in the region. Mexico has even resorted to importing limes from Brazil to make up for the shortfall in supply.
Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight for the current conflict. Government forces, cartels and the vigilante forces will continue to fight until only one is left standing. Thus the cycle of violence will continue while innocents are continually caught in the crossfire.