Research Library

Mexico Center

Drug Policy

Vigilantism in Mexico: A New Phase in Mexico's Security Crisis

The violent struggle between rival Mexican drug cartels and other criminal groups has left tens of thousands dead and towns across Mexico paralyzed with fear. With overwhelmed police forces relatively powerless to control drug-related murders and kidnappings, a growing number of vigilante organizations, or self-defense groups, aim to restore order — but now even they are fighting, and killing, among themselves.