Hundreds of vigilantes took over the town of Tierra Colorada located in the Mexican state of Guerrero on Tuesday, March 26, 2013, in response to the killing of a vigilante leader Guadalupe Quinonez. The masked armed vigilantes detained 12 police officers and 6 civilians and a security director after occupying the town of nearly 20,000 people.
The vigilantes belong to a group named, Union of Peoples and Organizations of Guerrero State, or UPOEG. The group was formed in January of 2013 in the towns of Ayutla de los Libres, Teconoapa and San Marcos to protect residents.
The leader of the UPOEG Bruno Placido stated that Quinonez’s murder is, “a challenge from organized crime against us”.
The vigilantes believe that the ex-security director participated in the killing of Guadalupe Quinonez on behalf of organized groups.
After the vigilantes took over the town check points were set up to inspect the vehicles of passing motorists. The vigilante group states they are fighting violence, kidnapping and extortions be conducted by drug cartels.
There have been concerns however that the vigilante groups have violated human rights, laws and have been cooperating with criminals.
On March 27, 2013, several news reports indicated that the police officers and civilians there were detained were released with the promise that the death of Guadalupe Quinonez be investigated.