Alberto Arce
Associated Press
May 10, 2014

Mexico’s government plans on Saturday to begin demobilizing a vigilante movement of assault rifle-wielding ranchers and farmers that formed in the western state of Michoacan and succeeded in largely expelling the Knights Templar cartel when state and local authorities couldn’t.

Police take a suspected drug trafficker off a helicopter in the state of Sonora. Credit: knightfoundation / Flickr
Police take a suspected drug trafficker off a helicopter in the state of Sonora. Credit: knightfoundation / Flickr

The ceremony in the town of Tepalcatepec, where the movement began in February 2013, will involve the registration of thousands of guns by the federal government and an agreement that the so-called “self-defense” groups will either join a new official rural police force or return to their normal lives and acts as voluntary reserves when called on.

The government will go town by town to organize and recruit the new rural forces.

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