Michoacan violence
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Violence in Michoacan

On Sept. 15, the eve of Mexican Independence Day in 2008, with throngs of revelers crowding the plaza in the state capital of Morelia, two grenades exploded, killing eight people, wounding hundreds and introducing an indiscriminate style of narco-terrorism that plagues Mexico to this day.

 (European Pressphoto Agency)

Men belonging to the Self-Defense Council of Michoacan engage in a firefight while trying to flush out alleged members of the Knights Templar drug cartel from Nueva Italia, Mexico on Jan. 12, 2014. The vigilantes said they were liberating territory. Mexican troops and police stayed away.

 (Eduardo Verdugo / Associated Press)

The window of a bank is riddled with bullet holes in the town of Apatzingan in Michoacan state, Mexico on Jan. 11, 2014. Residents from various towns were destroying property to protest the arrival of vigilantes, or members of “self-defense” groups, to their communities.

 (Eduardo Verdugo / Associated Press)

Mexican federal police and army troops watch over the streets of Uruapan, Michoacan, on Jan. 17, 2014.

 (Ulises Ruiz Basurto / European Pressphoto Agency)

Mexican federal police patrol in Michoacan.

 (Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times)

Vigilante groups in Michoacan state were ordered by the Mexican government to register their weapons in an effort to create a rural police force.

 (Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times)

Esperanza Bejar Perez walks past the hearse carrying her son Roberto Carlos Zamora, 27. She said vigilante forces had been tormenting her son, demanding money, threatening his family and beating him repeatedly. Zamora, she said, took his own life rather than face them anymore.

 (Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times)

A body is removed from a mass grave in La Barca on Nov. 15, 2013. Dozens of bodies were found in clandestine graves near the border between Jalisco and Michoacan states amid a turf war between the Knights Templar and New Generation cartels.

 (Agencia Esquema / Associated Press)

Flavio Gomez, identified by police as the brother of Servando “La Tuta” Gomez, head of the Knights Templar drug cartel, is escorted to a federal police truck at the airport in Mexico City on Feb. 27, 2015. Servando Gomez, a former teacher who became one of Mexico’s most-wanted drug lords, was also captured.

 (Marco Ugarte / Associated Press)