In Photos: Community Police Forces in Mexico
In the mountains of Guerrero, illegal poppy fields flourish and the production of opium gum is on the increase, despite the efforts of the Mexican army. Conflicts between the small cartels that control production are also intensifying.
Community police forces have been established to protect communities and, depending on the circumstances, confront or negotiate with the crime groups in the area. These photos will give you the information you need.
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Community police squads from neighbouring villages march together in Tlacotepec
All photos are taken by Pedro Pardo/AFP/Getty Images
A community police member guards a checkpoint in Apaxtla de Castrejón. In Guerrero state, one of the most violent in Mexico, there were more than 2,300 murders in 2017, according to official figures
Community policing groups first cropped up more than six years ago in Guerrero and neighbouring Michoacán state, with the aim of protecting local residents from violent gangs
A farmer works at an illegal poppy field in Heliodoro Castillo in Guerrero
Masked community police patrol the streets. There are only two police officers in the area, and both are unarmed
A community police officer stands guard over an illegal poppy field in Heliodoro Castillo
Of those who have decided to take up arms, several cite the death of someone close to them as motivation
‘They might find me dead, but never put down or humiliated’: a slogan on several uniforms worn by the armed men. The phrase is attributed to Heliodoro Castillo (1887-1917), a hero of the Mexican revolution
Community police members on guard in Tlacotepec
Members on patrol in the hills in Carrizalillo. The line separating the armed militia groups from the drug traffickers can be fluid or even nonexistent: many members openly admit they participate in the trade of opium poppies