In one of the stranger chapters of Mexico's drug war, angry people in a southern town kidnapped the mother of a gang leader to demand the release of their loved ones.
The government of Guerrero state said Tuesday that it was sending about 220 soldiers and police to try to defuse the situation in Totolapan.
The town has been controlled for years by a drug gang boss whose proper name is Raybel Jacobo de Almonte, but who is better known as "El Tequilero."
De Alamonte has lived up to his nickname, which translates roughly as "The Tequila Drinker." In his only known public appearance, he was captured on video drinking with the town's mayor-elect. De Alamonte mumbles inaudibly and has to be held up in a sitting position by one of his henchmen.
In recent months, his gang - also known as the Tequileros -has been fighting turf battles with other gangs in the area. Last week, the Tequileros allegedly kidnapped several inhabitants of Totolapan who they wanted to extort or whom they suspected of supporting a rival.
In response, a few dozen men appeared this week in the streets of Totolapan waving shotguns and hunting rifles. In a video, the men carry banners calling for action against El Tequilero and identify themselves as a "self-defense" force, as vigilantes are known in the region.
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