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April 3, 1987 | MARK FINEMAN, Times Staff Writer
At high noon Thursday, the 13 devotees of the Sagrado Corazon Senor religious cult fell to their knees in the detention area of a military camp here and prayed for strength to resume their holy war against communism. For 15 minutes, they mumbled sacred incantations, fingered amulets that they believe make their bodies bulletproof and invoked the power of their master, a bearded Filipino religious zealot who claims to be a reincarnation of Jesus.
April 15, 2014 | By Tracy Wilkinson and Cecilia Sanchez
MEXICO CITY - The Mexican government has set a date for the so-called self-defense militias in the troubled western state of Michoacan to dissolve and account for their weapons, a move that does not necessarily signal the end of the vigilante movement. Alfredo Castillo, the administration's point-man for Michoacan state, said in a series of interviews Tuesday that the militias had agreed to disband by May 10. Those who want to continue patrolling the towns of Michoacan will have to become part of a new statewide rural police force, Castillo said.
July 30, 2013 | By Paul Whitefield
Seems that Nostradamus has nothing on me. On Monday, musing about the weekend mayhem in Huntington Beach after the U.S. Open of Surfing, I peered into my crystal ball and proposed a high-tech solution to such violence: the Breathe Into the Phone to Prove You're Sober app. And like the ancient sage, it turns out I was right -- kind of. There is a high-tech solution, but it's staring us right in the face (or ear): the smartphone. Here's an interesting fact about modern life: When people today act badly, other people take their pictures . And they share those pictures.
April 7, 2014 | By Richard Fausset and Cecilia Sanchez
MEXICO CITY - A key leader of the vigilante “self-defense” movement in Mexico's Michoacan state said Monday that he was refusing a government order to disarm, and roadblocks to keep out federal forces charged with taking away the vigilantes' weapons were reported in numerous cities. Vigilante leader Jose Manuel Mireles said in a radio interview that the government had not sufficiently pacified the state. “Armed and masked” drug cartel members began appearing in the streets just hours after the government's announcement last week declaring it was time for the vigilantes to disarm, he said.
February 19, 2013 | By Cecilia Sanchez and Tracy Wilkinson
MEXICO CITY -- Vigilantes who were threatening to subject a group of alleged criminals to a “people's court” abruptly released their captives Tuesday, avoiding, for now, a showdown with authorities. Saying the government has not been able to protect them from drug traffickers and other violent gangs, villagers in the southern state of Guerrero took up arms this year and formed so-called self-defense patrols. With homicides, rapes and other crimes spreading in much of central Mexico, so has the phenomenon of armed vigilantes.
July 31, 1998
vs. Bend * 6:35 p.m. Today-Saturday 5:35 p.m., Sunday Site--Vince Genna Stadium Radio--830 (KPLS) Records--Vigilantes (6-8), Bend (6-8) Record vs. Bandits--2-4 Update--Outfielder Mark Charbonnet is having an MVP-type year for the Bandits. He is hitting .373, leads the league with 17 home runs and is third in runs batted in with 61 through 58 games. Mission Viejo's Alan Burke has 56 RBIs. The Vigilantes have won three of four.
January 7, 2014 | By Richard Fausset and Cecilia Sanchez
MEXICO CITY - Vigilantes who took over the main government building of a small Mexican city in Michoacan state after a weekend shootout with suspected criminals were refusing to release 11 police officers held as prisoners, officials said Tuesday. Michoacan, an important agricultural state in southwestern Mexico, has seen a number of armed “self-defense” groups spring up in recent months with the purported aim of protecting residents from the powerful drug cartel known as the Knights Templar.
March 12, 2014
MEXICO CITY - One of the best-known leaders of Mexico's vigilante “self-defense” movement has been arrested on suspicion of participating in a double homicide, raising new doubts about the federal government's strategy of partnering with armed campesino groups in the fight against a powerful drug cartel in Michoacan state. Hipolito Mora Chavez, a lime grower who gained fame for leading one of the first local uprisings of autodefensa groups early last year in the small city of La Ruana, was arrested Tuesday evening by state officials.
February 22, 2014 | By Mery Mogollon and Chris Kraul
CARACAS, Venezuela - Opponents and supporters of President Nicolas Maduro held massive demonstrations Saturday in central Caracas and other Venezuelan cities as the unofficial death toll rose to 11 in more than a week of unrest. Leading the opposition demonstration in eastern Caracas was Liliana Tintori, wife of Leopoldo Lopez, the former Caracas borough mayor who was arrested this week and charged with inciting violence that has erupted during protests. Lopez and other opposition leaders say armed pro-government vigilantes have been responsible for the deaths and that the opposition has demonstrated peacefully to protest rising crime and shortages.
February 16, 2014 | By Richard Fausset
CHILPANCINGO, Mexico - On a cool evening in February, Pioquinto Damian, the head of the Chamber of Commerce here in Guerrero's capital city, was locked away in his downtown apartment, afraid to step outside. He was convinced that the mayor had tried to kill him in an ambush just a few days before. In response, the governor had assigned him 18 heavily armed police officers as bodyguards. A few miles outside town, hundreds of members of autodefensas - vigilante "self-defense" militias composed largely of fed-up farmworkers - were patrolling the streets of semirural suburbs with ancient rifles and shotguns, hoping to rid them of the drug cartel thugs who had terrorized them for years.
February 8, 2014 | By Richard Fausset
MEXICO CITY -- The vigilante "self-defense" groups in Mexico's Michoacan state on Saturday entered Apatzingan, the stronghold of the Knights  Templar drug cartel, carrying no weapons but escorted by troops and federal police. The vigilantes have long considered Apatzingan, a city of more than 90,000, to be a prime target in their fight against the cartel, which has wormed its way deep into the fabric of Michoacan society. The vigilantes' threat to take the city by force last month prompted the federal government to send thousands of troops into the southwestern state to avoid a bloody showdown.
February 6, 2014 | By Cecilia Sanchez and Richard Fausset
MEXICO CITY - Four human heads were reportedly discovered Thursday in Michoacan state, one of several recent incidents that suggest the Knights Templar drug cartel may be lashing out as the federal government and vigilante groups attempt to retake territory under cartel control. The heads were found in the indigenous community of Zacan, about 200 miles west of Mexico City, according to numerous news reports. The newspaper El Universal reported that a "message with threats from organized crime" was found along with the body parts.
January 30, 2014 | By Richard Fausset and Cecilia Sanchez
MEXICO CITY -- Mexico's attorney general said Thursday that he has proof that some of the arms being used by the vigilante “self-defense” groups of Michoacan state were supplied by a drug cartel, the Jalisco New Generation, according to news reports. The self-defense groups sprang up last February to take on a drug cartel called the Knights Templar. Many members are rural landowners and farmworkers fed up with the harassment and extortion by the Knights Templars. But there has been wide speculation that the groups had some connection to, or support from, the New Generation, a rival of the Knights Templar.
January 27, 2014 | By Richard Fausset
MEXICO CITY - The leaders of the vigilante “self-defense” groups of Michoacan state have signed an agreement with the Mexican government that transforms them into an officially sanctioned security force, officials announced Monday. The self-defense groups sprang up last year to confront the Knights Templar drug cartel and moved aggressively this month into territory where the cartel held sway. In an effort to prevent a widespread conflagration, the Mexican government sent thousands of troops and federal police into the contested region, promising to finally go after cartel leaders and demanding that the self-defense forces disarm.
January 25, 2014 | By Richard Fausset
MEXICO CITY - Boots on the ground was the easy part. Last week, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto sent a massive surge of military and federal police to embattled Michoacan state. The federal forces currently patrolling its cities, highways and backroads have brought a tenuous peace to a region that had faced a potential showdown between the dominant Knights Templar drug cartel and armed vigilante militias that emerged to drive the cartel off. Now Peña Nieto must find a long-term solution for the troubled area known as Tierra Caliente, or Hot Land, where years of corruption and neglect - and the subsequent tyranny imposed by criminals - have eroded faith in government authority at all levels, allowing civil society to all but unravel.
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