Second vigilante leader surrenders in Mexican murders case
The leader of a self-defense group surrendered to authorities Tuesday for his role in a gunfight against a rival vigilant group that left 11 dead earlier this month.
Luis Antonio Torres, also know as "The American” because he grew up in the United States, and nine of his followers who also turned themselves in Tuesday, will be detained and questioned in a jail of Morelia where 27 members of a rival vigilant group are already being held.
The head of that group, Hipolito Mora, and 26 of his supporters surrendered last weekend.
The penal court of the state of Michoacan on Monday charged the 27 detainees with manslaughter in the deaths of 10 out of 11 people in La Ruana on Dec. 16.
The group was not charged in the death of the 11th victim, Mora’s son, Manuel, who died during the two-hour shootout that caused the deaths of four other members from Mora's group and six followers from Torres' group.
Eduardo Quintero, a lawyer representing Mora, told a local radio station that his client will request more time for his case in order to gather more evidence that will prove his innocence.
Self-defence groups began to form in February 2013, when local residents in Michoacan gathered to fight The Knights Templar drug cartel.
Animosities soon emerged between two vigilante groups that accused each other of having been infiltrated by members of the organized crime they were fighting against.
At the start of 2014, President Enrique Pena Nieto’s administration tried in vain to control the self-defense groups by registering their weapons and incorporating them into local police forces.
Last Modified: 2014-12-31 11:23:28
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