Anti-Drug-Cartel Vigilantes Arrested on Gun Charges in Mexico

Jose Manuel Mireles, the leader of a network of vigilantes who fought against Mexican drug cartels in Michoacán, was arrested for gun possession this week, according to law enforcement officials. Before his arrest, Mireles had reportedly refused to formally ally his group with a new rural police force.

From the Associated Press:

The "self-defense" movement sprang up last year to confront a drug cartel, and Mireles is the only founding member of the movement who hasn't joined a new rural police force set up by the federal government to regain control of Michoacan.

"There was a warning that every person who after May 10 was caught carrying an unauthorized weapon would be arrested," Castillo said.

Mireles and 83 other members of his network were taken into custody on Friday after a sting led by the new police force.

As the BBC notes, Mireles recently survived an airplane crash and "disappeared from view" for a few weeks.

Mireles has frequently appeared in the international spotlight, and has been outspoken about his lack of trust for the central government or the cartels. The BBC reports that Mireles "chose instead to continue to operate outside the law."

[Image via AP]