he Michoacan area of Mexico has gotten so lawless, a band of female vigilantes are taking it upon themselves to protect their friends and family.
The state, which is the world’s largest supplier of avocados and limes, has recently been overrun by the violent Jalisco drug cartel that hail from the neighboring state and so the women are fighting back, according to The Associated Press.
The women carry assault rifles and post roadblocks, often while pregnant or carrying small children with them, to combat the growing homicide levels, which have skyrocketed since 2013.
The majority of the women have lost family members to the cartel, like Blanco Nava who told the AP her son Freddy Barrios, a 29-year old lime picker, was kidnapped by presumed Jalisco cartel gunmen in pickup trucks; she has never heard from him since.
Another woman claimed her 14-year-old daughter was kidnapped and hasn’t been seen since, saying “We are going to defend those we have left, the children we have left, with our lives. We women are tired of seeing our children, our families disappear. They take our sons, they take our daughters, our relatives, our husbands.”
It is left to the women to fight as most men are being carted away to work for the cartels (willingly or not).
“As soon as they see a man who can carry a gun, they take him away,” woman told the AP. “They disappear. We don’t know if they have them (as recruits) or if they already killed them.”
The women vigilantes also made a homemade tank, “a heavy-duty pickup truck with steel plate armor welded on it,” the AP reports, while women in other towns have dug trenches across roadways leading into neighboring Jalisco state, to keep the attackers out.