Farmers Killed 10 Gang Members, Won't Be Charged

Prosecutors find Texcapilla's farmers were defending themselves from murderous extortionists
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 29, 2023 12:07 PM CST
They Killed 10 Gang Members, Won't Be Charged
A federal police officer carries a seized weapon to present to the press along with five alleged members of the Mexican drug cartel "La Familia Michoacana" in Mexico City, Tuesday, June 22, 2010.   (AP Photo/Miguel Tovar)

Mexican villagers who killed gang members with sickles, machetes, and shotguns won't face charges after prosecutors concluded they acted in self-defense. Residents of Texcapilla had been "under constant threat" from members of the Familia Michoacana gang, according to prosecutors. The gang, which had long taken "protection money" from local business owners, began requesting the same from farmers. They demanded a certain amount of money per square meter of crops. After a poor harvest, the farmers failed to negotiate a reduced fee and ultimately decided not to pay anything at all.

In what became known as "the massacre on the football field," villagers were "summoned to a [soccer] pitch where gang members opened fire on them," the BBC reports. "But they fought back." Video footage shows "residents brutally striking down multiple alleged cartel members while others try to run away," per the Messenger. Four villagers and 10 gang members, including Familia Michoacana's leader in Mexico state, were reportedly killed. Seven others were injured. Prosecutors have now concluded gang members were first to open fire and farmers only defended themselves with "the tools of their trade," per the BBC.

Now under National Guard protection, the villagers continue to live in fear. Ten adults and four children who vanished in the days after the massacre are thought to have been taken by the gang. One man was reportedly seized from a hospital where he was being treated for injuries following the violence. A reward is offered for the individuals' safe return, per Mexico's Herald. (More Mexico stories.)

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