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Latino Daily News

Friday February 14, 2014

Mexican Mayor Steps Down Amidst Pressure From Militias

The mayor of a town in the western Mexican state of Michoacan said he is stepping down amid accusations from local self-defense groups that he has ties to organized crime.

“They have been debilitating months, of much tension, many problems, much danger,” Tepalcatepec Mayor Guillermo Valencia said from Morelia, the state capital, where he relocated after the emergence of the militias a year ago.

His father and brother were abducted, Valencia said in an interview with Milenio television, claiming that the leaders of the self-defense group in Tepalcatepec, brothers Juan Jose and Uriel Farias, are embarked on a campaign against him.

The militias, which arose to defend communities in Michoacan from extortionists and kidnapping rings associated with the Caballeros Templarios drug cartel, allege that the mayor is connected to criminal elements.

Valencia told Milenio he met Wednesday with the recently appointed federal commissioner for Michoacan, Alfredo Castillo, to offer his cooperation in efforts to restore normality in the troubled state.

Federal Police and army troops have been deployed in Michoacan for the past month as part of a bid by the national government to rein in the Templarios and bring the militias under the formal control of the military.

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