MEXICO CITY – One of the founders of the self-defense forces that took up arms in the western Mexican state of Michoacan to confront organized crime said on Wednesday that a judge acquitted him on the gun possession charge for which he spent three years in prison.
“I was accused of fabricated crimes when I decided to save my town. Knowing this, I kept fighting. I spent time in prison and now, at last, after this political persecution, the judiciary has declared me innocent and cleared me of every accusation,” Dr. Jose Manuel Mireles said on Twitter.
A judge released Mireles from a federal prison in May 2017, pending trial for illegal possession of guns designated as exclusively for use by the military.
The medic was arrested in the port city of Lazaro Cardenas on June 27, 2014, along with 82 members of the self-defense forces that took up arms in 2013 to confront organized crime in Michoacan.
In May 2014, the Mexican government began to regularize Michoacan’s self-defense forces by incorporating them into a rural police force.
Mireles and many other members of his group, however, rejected the proposal to join the new corps and continued carrying out policing activities in several municipalities.