Mochoacán is an agricultural state in Mexico that lies between the capital and Guadalajara, the second largest city. It is also the home state of President Felipe Calderón. It has been ruled by the crime gang La Familia.
La Familia’s big splash was in 2008 when they captured and tortured to death 12 federal police officers. But the Federal government has been on the offensive sending over 5,500 soldiers and police into the state. Regular fighting ensued, and in December of 2010 there strange cultic leader Nazario Moreno González was killed during a two day gun battle with security forces. [a New York Times source]
Since his death a power struggle has emerged between at least two factions trying to take over the territory.
Fighting broke out between the gangs on 23 May 23, 2011 and lasted for three days. News was slow to get out because the drug cartels have instructed the local news media to stop covering the mayhem. A police helicopter was forced down by gunfire, and at least 800 refugees took shelter the nearby towns of Buenavista and Apazingan.
David Luhnow and José de Córdoba
The cartel has infiltrated local police forces and city halls throughout the state, experts say, and largely displaced local governments in many areas.
The situation is so bad that Mexico's three main political parties on Wednesday signed a joint statement saying they were exploring the possibility of fielding a single, unity candidate in November's gubernatorial race in an attempt to set aside partisan bickering and save the state.
"It's indicative of how badly the wheels are falling off," said James McDonald, an anthropology professor at Southern Utah University who lived for many years in Michoacán and is an expert on it. "I think Michoacán is lost, like Tamaulipas. And it could be the realization that they need to get together on this and deal with it, or else."