Villagers Rebel Against Cartel, 14 DEAD

State officials in Mexico said on Saturday that at least 14 people had died in a gun battle between armed robbers and inhabitants of a tiny agricultural town in the country’s central region. The police are describing the incident as an effort at gang extortion that backfired when the townspeople resisted.

The battle occurred early on Friday in the Mexican state town of Texcapilla, and its governor, Delfina Gómez, said during a press conference on Saturday morning that she had requested heightened protection for the area.

The uprising that led to the killings happened when some villages responded to the governing cartel’s decision to increase extortion payments collected from farmers by taking up weapons against them.

The Mexican State Attorney General’s Office has said that members of the La Familia Michoacana cartel, together with armed civilians, were involved in the altercation.

The town’s sports field was the site of the violence. The seconds leading up to the violence were recorded and later circulated online.

As seen in the video, the arguments escalate, and dozens of peasants armed with machetes and hunting guns rush the assailants. The first gunfire subsequently erupts. A few take flight. Still others use machetes to pursue and assault the alleged gang members.

It demonstrated how anger may drive individuals to resist the oppressive groups they encounter daily.

As a regional commander with La Familia Michoacana, a drug gang that has been pushing into Mexico State and Mexico City in recent years, Rigoberto “El Payaso” de la Sancha Santillan was in charge of the organization’s assassins. According to the authorities, El Payaso was killed in the confrontation. A number of his assailants rode in gray cars defaced with cartel insignia and wore clothes reminiscent of the military.

Reports surfaced in Mexican media either during or before the confrontation, claiming that El Payaso had killed a lady, further infuriating the people. The locals torched the cartel trucks and several of the assassins’ corpses after the battle.

While claiming to be battling state police forces who backed their competitors, many cartel banners named El Payaso. El Payaso was wanted by Mexican authorities in 2021 for allegedly ordering the murder of thirteen police officers, according to the online news site Infobae.

In his inaugural speech in 2018, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador promised that his administration would work to eradicate the underlying factors contributing to crime.