The week at a glance...Americas
Tijuana, Mexico Did U.S. help cartel? Mexico’s top newspaper, El Universal, reported this week that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration had an arrangement with Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel that let the drug-trafficking group operate relatively freely in exchange for information about other cartels. El Universal cites U.S. court documents that show the DEA worked closely with informants in the Sinaloa Cartel from 2006 to 2012, a time when drug violence soared and the gang rose in prominence. The Mexican government was allegedly never informed of the DEA’s meetings with Sinaloa members. The most serious allegation—that the U.S. pledged not to interfere with Sinaloa operations—rests only on the word of one arrested Sinaloa member, Vicente Zambada Niebla. The DEA and the Justice Department have declined to comment.
Antúnez, Mexico Vigilantes pursue cartel: Mexico this week sent federal troops to Michoacán state to try to take back several towns from armed vigilantes. Led by surgeon José Manuel Mireles, the vigilantes have formed militias to battle the Knights Templar, a brutal drug gang that controls the state by extorting money from locals and executing those who don’t pay. “We are willing to disarm ourselves when the authorities live up to their responsibilities,” Mireles said. “We want justice. When there is no justice in a town, when there is no rule of law in a town, the people have to find justice by their own hands.”
Campinas, Brazil Police suspected in killings: A five-hour killing spree that left a dozen suspected gang members dead in southeastern Brazil this week may have been the work of rogue police, Brazilian media reported. The execution-style killings began just hours after an off-duty military policeman was killed trying to foil a gas station robbery in Campinas, the hub of Brazil’s tech industry. Most of the victims had criminal backgrounds, and witnesses said the gunmen appeared to have military training. Fernando Grella Vieira, the secretary of public safety for the state of São Paulo, promised an investigation. “These are intolerable crimes, and I can guarantee that the police will not rest until we solve these deaths,” he said.