Why Mexico’s meth country is totally tweaking out

November 15, 2013 01:49

Why Mexico’s meth country is totally tweaking out

In Michoacan’s meth heartland, a drug gang has gone medieval, militias are up in arms, and the government has put boots on the ground. Didn’t Mexico see this coming? 

Mexico michoacan militia 2013 11 14

Local militia fashion is all the rage in Michoacan these days. (Hector Guerrero/AFP/Getty Images)

MEXICO CITY — Seven years after the government launched a military campaign against Mexico’s criminal cartels there, the Pacific coast state of Michoacan remains among the biggest obstacles to pacifying Mexico.

President Enrique Pena Nieto this month dispatched federal police and troops to seize the port at Lazaro Cardenas. The port, Mexico’s third busiest, has been used to smuggle meth ingredients into Mexico and ship illicit iron ore shipments out.

Bolstered federal forces also swept into the state’s so-called Tierra Caliente, or Hot Country, the largely rural redoubt of the state’s vicious “Caballeros Templarios,” or Knights Templar gang.

“This was seen coming and absolutely nothing was done about it,” Mexican Interior Secretary Miguel Angel Osorio tolda radio interviewer Tuesday about Michoacan’s precarious security. “This will be an issue for many years. As part of the strategy there will be other actions to recover the state and return it to the citizens.”

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