Western Mexico Under Violent Siege After Vigilante Leader’s Death

The notorious violence across the Mexican border intensified in recent days after the death and burial of civilian self-defense leader Hipolito Mora. The response was more shootings and roadblocks springing up in the city of Apatzingan.

Highways entering and leaving the area were impeded Sunday morning by big rigs and buses as cartel gunmen forced them to maneuver across busy roads. One unidentified truck driver reported being told that if he did not block traffic, the gunmen would burn his truck.

In the Apatzingan regional hub, gunmen carjacked a family and then used their vehicle to fatally shoot another driver just blocks away. His body slumped into the passenger’s seat while the car dangled from a bridge.

Mora, one of the city’s last citizen leaders of its anti-gang movement, was killed last Thursday along with two of his colleagues.

He was buried Saturday with his friends, and many see his death as the end of the people resisting cartel violence.

His sister, Olivia Mora, spoke at his funeral. “He looked out for his town, for his people, and that’s something none of us is going to do.” She added that the people think first of their families, and none of the survivors will “have the courage to do what he did.”

Many U.S. political leaders, including Republican 2024 presidential frontrunner Donald Trump, now call for strong action to bring drug cartel violence under control. Meanwhile, the Democratic side insists there is no threat as it continues its misguided open borders policies.

Another GOP voice, Sen. J.D. Vance (R-OH), on Saturday, demanded action from the Biden White House. He cited the growing strength of drug cartels and called for utilizing the military against their power.

Vance warned that cartels, which are fueling the opioid crisis, are only getting more threatening. “You think the fentanyl problem is bad now — what about three years from now when the Mexican drug cartels are more powerful than the Mexican government itself?”

The only slightly good news is that Apatzingan is not close to the U.S. border. Still, Mora’s death will only embolden rival drug cartels and make them even stronger as there is not likely to be someone else to rise up and oppose their influence.