Just weeks after the Mexican government signed an accord with the "community police" vigilante network in Michoacán, ostensibly bringing the anti-narco militias under control of the armed forces, it is looking more and more like they have been transformed into a lawless paramilitary force -- even acting against Mexico's federal authorities. On March 19, community police forces at La Placita, on Michoacán's Pacific coast, launched a blockade of the entrance of a Mexican naval outpost, apparently in protest of the disarming of 14 of their gunmen by Mexican marines stationed there. The blockade continues as we got to press, with hundreds of armed vigilantes from neighboring towns converging at the base.
Meanwhile, Michoacán state prosecutors say unknown gunmen on March 22 killed a local mayor who had survived an earlier attack. Gustavo Garibay García was hit with at least 18 bullets fired from three guns outside his home in the village of Tanhuato. Garibay had been wounded in a similar attack in 2012 and last month his secretary was killed. Officials say they haven't determined a motive for the attacks, though Tanhuato is located in a region hotly contested by the Knights Templar and New Generation cartels, as well as the community police militias.