The cartels just across the border from El Paso, Texas erupted in violence several years ago. Ciudad Juárez was ground zero in Mexico’s war against drug cartels. The violence spread until citizens in Michoacán organized what became known as Autodefensas or self-defense organizations.
Dr. José Manuel Mireles, the leader of the self-defense group in the Mexican state of Michoacán, was released from prison on the morning of May 12, 2017, after serving nearly three years in prison. Cartel Land is a documentary film that tells the story of how, under Dr. Mireles, the Autodefensas, recruited and trained fellow citizens to stop the Knights Templar in Tepalcatepec. Starting in February, 2013, the citizens of Tepalcatepec confronted the Knights Templar cartel, which had been terrorizing the population of the Tierra Caliente area of Michoacán. Read more