Enraged civilians take up arms against drug cartel and leave 10 hitmen dead

A fight between civilians and one of Mexico's deadly drug cartels left 14 people dead, including 10 cartel hitmen.

According to a report from Univision Noticias (translated by Borderland Beat) four others were injured with gunshot wounds and two people are missing after violence broke out in the State of Mexico last Friday (December 8).

It is thought that members of La Familia Michoacana, a powerful drug trafficking organisation, recently announced the gang was increasing the extortion tax it imposes on farmers in the town of Texcaltitlán. This tax is common across Mexico, with businesses paying cartels to be allowed to operate without interference.

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Reports suggest Texcaltitlán farmers met with La Familia Michoacana members at a football pitch last Friday. When the two sides couldn't come to an agreement over the tax, violence broke out.

Videos from the football pitch show people running as gunshots are heard. Graphic images also show burned out vehicles and dead bodies at the scene.

Local media outlets report four of the dead were local farmers, and 10 were from the cartel. Some of the criminals were hacked to death with machetes. Local La Familia Michoacana boss Rigoberto de la Sancha Santillan – known as El Payaso – was killed in the fighting.

José Luis Cervantes Martínez, head of the Attorney General's Office of the State of Mexico, said El Payaso's criminal cell was responsible for the deaths of 13 members of Mexico's security forces in 2021. He also confirmed that El Payaso was killed by civilians last Friday, along with "a couple of high and medium level hitmen".

Mexico State Governor Delfina Gómez strongly condemned the violence. She said: "These events do not paralyse us, on the contrary, they reaffirm our determination to improve security conditions in our beloved state, rest assured that we will continue working so that events like this are not repeated."

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