Residents of a town in Guerrero declared themselves in self-defense mode on Sunday and by Monday they had nabbed the mother of a crime gang leader.
“We’ve got his mom,” said the wife of an engineer who was kidnapped late Sunday afternoon in Valle de Luz, where citizens promptly rallied in response and declared they would mount an armed defense against the Tequileros gang, notorious for kidnappings and other crimes.
The wife of Isauro de Paz Duque told a press conference that the gang had threatened to kill her husband, but “we have his mother here, the mother of the man called El Tequilero.”
She offered to exchange Raybel Jacobo de Almonte’s mother for her husband before tearfully accusing Guerrero Governor Héctor Astudillo of turning a blind eye to crime in the municipality and declaring him responsible.
De Almonte has been wanted by authorities since a mass kidnapping took place three weeks ago in Ajuchitlán del Progreso.
The gang, which split from the Beltrán Leyva cartel, is relatively new, but its leader is a suspect in the 2014 assassination of a San Miguel Totolapan councilor.
Valle de Luz, located in the municipality of San Miguel Totolapan, is not the first community to rise up in arms against the gang. San Jerónimo El Grande did the same last month.
Following Sunday’s rally, residents rounded up several people they accuse of collaborating with the gang, along with the alleged mother of its boss and a municipal councilor, and occupied the local police offices.
A sign at the rally contained a message addressed to the governor and President Enrique Peña Nieto advising that the town was tired of the executions, kidnappings and extortion carried out by Los Tequileros.
“. . . today we have decided to defend our families and our lives and our property with our own hands.”