Farmers Strike Down Cartel With Sickles and Machetes

( – Mexico is plagued with violent drug cartels that make life miserable and dangerous for ordinary people. The narcos aren’t getting it all their own way, though. One gang of criminals just picked on the wrong farmers and paid a high price for it.

Mexican state police reported that on December 9, 11 people were killed in the town of Texcaltitlan, around 80 miles from Mexico City. Three of the dead were local people, and the other eight were members of an unnamed drug gang. Local media says the carnage started when gang members tried to make farmers pay protection money on their land. Video footage of the incident doesn’t capture what was said, but it does show how it turned out.

In the video, it’s possible to see dozens of people standing in a field, apparently involved in a tense discussion. Some were carrying rifles; others had agricultural tools, including sickles and machetes. Eventually, the tension snaps; riflemen open up, firing on automatic — and the furious farmers attack them, hacking at them with their sharp tools.

Going by the number of bodies on each side, the gang members bit off much more than they could chew. In fact, it could be even worse than the police are saying; on December 10 media outlets reported that 14 people died — four farmers and ten cartel men — and that one of the dead criminals was the leader of the cartel.

While the unlucky gang wasn’t named, the Familia Michoacana cartel has controlled the area for the last decade. This cartel carried out a massacre of 20 people last year and is also notorious for ambushing the police. It seems trying to extort money from the farmers was a step too far, though. Mexican cartels often lean on farmers and other businesses, seeing them as easy targets for extortion. This time they got it badly wrong.

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