An audacious band of citizen militias is making strides against the oppressive Knights Templar drug gang — something they say federal forces have not managed to do in a decade. “We are coming together with only one thing in mind: Kill or be killed,” says Jose Manuel Mireles, a surgeon under whom the self-defense groups are coalescing.
Aug. 25, 2013 Jose Manuel Mireles listens to members of citizen militias as they organize at a checkpoint in Buenavista, Tomatlan, Mexico. Mireles, a surgeon who used to work for the Red Cross in California, has become a leader of the self-defense movement in Michoacan state, helping coordinate groups that had been scattered in different towns and operating independently. They say their aim is to end years of violence and extortion by the Knights Templar drug cartel. Miguel Juarez Lugo/For The Washington Post Buy Photo