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Forgotten Guerrero

This reportage documents the current social and political situation in the Mexican state of Guerrero, a unique player for violence and disorder in the country’s drug war.
Guerrero hosts the largest poppy cultivation in the country but unlike any other state under the control of a single organisation, Guerrero is hostage to more non-state armed groups than any other region. Forty cartels and self-proclaimed defence groups (autodefensas) fight each other for control over drug production and trafficking - heroin for the U.S. market above everything else - and other rackets including extortion.
In larger urban centres such as Chilpancingo, Chilapa de Alvarez and the once famous Acapulco, brutal internal fights spread terror among the locals for territorial control. Cartels and other criminal groups adopt the so-called necropolitics: by consolidating fear and assuming the role of death judges for those who live in their territory, they show and gain power. Anyone can become a victim. The violence is terrible.
The chronic lack of basic security often forces inhabitants of smaller towns to abandon their homes in search for safety. A consequence is the increasing number of pueblos fantasma, villages that have been either abandoned in a hurry or whose people seem to have disturbingly vanished in thin air. It’s easy to die in Guerrero but even easier to disappear, as the 2014 disappearance of 43 students in Ayotzinapa showed to the international media.
In 2019 President López Obrador founded the National Guard, a security initiative meant to re- duce killings and crime. This operation, having no budget of its own and deriving most of its personnel and hardware from the armed forces, has proved little to date.
To draw a line between some of the autodefensas and purely criminal organisations has become increasingly difficult as the state has shown deep collusion and complicity with both and several autodefensas have gained significant political and social influence. And while in January 2020 Guerrero surfaced in international media for an autodefensa recruiting children, much suggests that several nominal autodefensas have strayed far beyond citizen protection. According to a recent study, the national impunity rate for murder is 89%, while standing at 96% in Guerrero. Police are also poorly trained: 32% of Guerrero’s officers in late 2018 had received no training at all. Additionally, the state suffers from a lack of police having 0.9 police officers per 1,000 inhabitants, a ratio half of what Mexico's federal government defines as the "minimum standard" for police presence.
001_forgottenguerrero - Mexico; Guerrero; Petlacala; 23/11/18

Members of a self defense group in a poppy field. 
The self-defence group of Sierra of San Miguel claim to protect the local population from the criminal group of the Tequileros, which are specialized in kidnapping and extortion, and at the same time take part in the heroin business.
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Mexico; Guerrero; Petlacala; 23/11/18

Members of a self defense group in a poppy field.
The self-defence group of Sierra of San Miguel claim to protect the local population from the criminal group of the Tequileros, which are specialized in kidnapping and extortion, and at the same time take part in the heroin business.
002_forgottenguerrero - Mexico; Guerrero; Acapulco; 17/11/18

The stabbed back of a 17-year-old boy found dead with his head and limbs detached. 
He is just one of the countless innocent victims found in Acapulco who are violently murdered to spread terror among the local population.
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Mexico; Guerrero; Acapulco; 17/11/18

The stabbed back of a 17-year-old boy found dead with his head and limbs detached.
He is just one of the countless innocent victims found in Acapulco who are violently murdered to spread terror among the local population.
003_forgottenguerrero - Mexico; Guerrero; Chilapa De Alvarez; 03/02/18

Banner at a bus stop in Chilapa: "The who can avoid a crime but chooses not to, consents to it".
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Mexico; Guerrero; Chilapa De Alvarez; 03/02/18

Banner at a bus stop in Chilapa: "The who can avoid a crime but chooses not to, consents to it".
004_forgottenguerrero - Mexico; Guerrero; Rincon De Chautla; 10/06/19

Since the beginning of 2019, numerous attacks on part of the cartel of Los Ardillos struck the town of Rincon De Chautla forcing its residents to defend themselves. Portrait of a mother with child who chose to take part in the town's community police.
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Mexico; Guerrero; Rincon De Chautla; 10/06/19

Since the beginning of 2019, numerous attacks on part of the cartel of Los Ardillos struck the town of Rincon De Chautla forcing its residents to defend themselves. Portrait of a mother with child who chose to take part in the town's community police.
005_forgottenguerrero - Mexico; Guerrero; Acapulco; 18/11/18

Assassinated man in the Acapulco neighbourhood of Zapata.
The sharp rise of violence in the city caused a tourism crisis and forced the Government to intervene with the security operation “Guerrero Seguro”. All forces, from the local police to the Marines, are attempting to stop or at least limit the dramatic situation.
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Mexico; Guerrero; Acapulco; 18/11/18

Assassinated man in the Acapulco neighbourhood of Zapata.
The sharp rise of violence in the city caused a tourism crisis and forced the Government to intervene with the security operation “Guerrero Seguro”. All forces, from the local police to the Marines, are attempting to stop or at least limit the dramatic situation.
006_forgottenguerrero - Mexico; Guerrero; Acapulco; 16/11/18

Federal police patrolling the once touristic city of Acapulco.
Governor Flores decided to intervene by implementing “Guerrero Seguro”, a massive operation coordinated by all the police and military forces with the goal of ending crime in the city. For the moment results have been very poor as Acapulco remains the most violent city in the state. The only outcome has been the confiscation of a few stolen vehicles and a few arrests.
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Mexico; Guerrero; Acapulco; 16/11/18

Federal police patrolling the once touristic city of Acapulco.
Governor Flores decided to intervene by implementing “Guerrero Seguro”, a massive operation coordinated by all the police and military forces with the goal of ending crime in the city. For the moment results have been very poor as Acapulco remains the most violent city in the state. The only outcome has been the confiscation of a few stolen vehicles and a few arrests.
007_forgottenguerrero - Mexico; Guerrero; Acapulco; 16/11/18

Crime scene in Acapulco. 
Tourism and investments have dropped as Acapulco is currently the most violent city in Guerrero, and for the last five years has been the most violent of Mexico.
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007_forgottenguerrero
Mexico; Guerrero; Acapulco; 16/11/18

Crime scene in Acapulco.
Tourism and investments have dropped as Acapulco is currently the most violent city in Guerrero, and for the last five years has been the most violent of Mexico.
008_forgottenguerrero - Mexico; Guerrero; Ayutla; 04/02/18

Displaced family in the area of Ayutla. Many live in precarious conditions without basic needs.
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008_forgottenguerrero
Mexico; Guerrero; Ayutla; 04/02/18

Displaced family in the area of Ayutla. Many live in precarious conditions without basic needs.
009_forgottenguerrero - Mexico; Guerrero; Los Timontos; 01/12/18

Members of the self-defence group of Policia Ciudadana de Leonardo Bravo holding their positions.
In the municipality of Leonardo Bravo 6 villages out of 18 are under the command of Policia Ciudadana de Leonardo Bravo, which also aims at controlling the route that takes to Chilpancingo as it is a crucial point for the local, illegal, economy.
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009_forgottenguerrero
Mexico; Guerrero; Los Timontos; 01/12/18

Members of the self-defence group of Policia Ciudadana de Leonardo Bravo holding their positions.
In the municipality of Leonardo Bravo 6 villages out of 18 are under the command of Policia Ciudadana de Leonardo Bravo, which also aims at controlling the route that takes to Chilpancingo as it is a crucial point for the local, illegal, economy.
010_forgottenguerrero - Mexico; Guerrero; Chilapa De Alvarez; 03/02/18

Graveyard of Chilapa of Chilapa De Alvarez. The city is involved in a war between two dangerous criminal groups: Los Rojos and Los Ardillos.
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Mexico; Guerrero; Chilapa De Alvarez; 03/02/18

Graveyard of Chilapa of Chilapa De Alvarez. The city is involved in a war between two dangerous criminal groups: Los Rojos and Los Ardillos.
011_forgottenguerrero - Mexico; Guerrero; Area of Chilpancingo; 26/11/18

Soldier eradicating a poppy cultivation.
For years the Mexican army has been committed in fighting against the poppy business. Numbers are impressive as around 84,000 m2 of crop have been eradicated in 2018.
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Mexico; Guerrero; Area of Chilpancingo; 26/11/18

Soldier eradicating a poppy cultivation.
For years the Mexican army has been committed in fighting against the poppy business. Numbers are impressive as around 84,000 m2 of crop have been eradicated in 2018.
012_forgottenguerrero - Mexico; Guerrero; Acapulco; 13/06/19

Crime scene in Acapulco. After being kidnapped in the afternoon, the victim suffered the loss of several fingers, an eye and part of the tongue. The man was brought to the hospital but died a few hours later.
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Mexico; Guerrero; Acapulco; 13/06/19

Crime scene in Acapulco. After being kidnapped in the afternoon, the victim suffered the loss of several fingers, an eye and part of the tongue. The man was brought to the hospital but died a few hours later.
013_forgottenguerrero - Mexico; Guerrero; Ayahualtempa; 13/01/20

Children training. After being attacked several times in 2019 by the cartel of Los Ardillos, the village community police has decided to involve also children into armed defense training.
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Mexico; Guerrero; Ayahualtempa; 13/01/20

Children training. After being attacked several times in 2019 by the cartel of Los Ardillos, the village community police has decided to involve also children into armed defense training.
014_forgottenguerrero - Mexico; Guerrero; Chilapa De Alvarez; 02/02/18

Federal police inside the house of the former local commissioner in a town near Chilapa. He was one of the leaders of the Los Rojos cartel.
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014_forgottenguerrero
Mexico; Guerrero; Chilapa De Alvarez; 02/02/18

Federal police inside the house of the former local commissioner in a town near Chilapa. He was one of the leaders of the Los Rojos cartel.
015_forgottenguerrero - Mexico; Guerrero; Acapulco; 16/11/18

Crime scene in Acapulco. 
Tourism and investments have dropped as Acapulco is currently the most violent city in Guerrero, and for the last five years has been the most violent of Mexico.
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015_forgottenguerrero
Mexico; Guerrero; Acapulco; 16/11/18

Crime scene in Acapulco.
Tourism and investments have dropped as Acapulco is currently the most violent city in Guerrero, and for the last five years has been the most violent of Mexico.
016_forgottenguerrero - Mexico; Guerrero; Corral de Bravo; 22/11/18

Members of the self-defence group of Policia Ciudadana de Leonardo Bravo wait for talking with the local sherif of Corral de Bravo.
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016_forgottenguerrero
Mexico; Guerrero; Corral de Bravo; 22/11/18

Members of the self-defence group of Policia Ciudadana de Leonardo Bravo wait for talking with the local sherif of Corral de Bravo.
017_forgottenguerrero - Mexico; Guerrero; Acapulco; 17/11/18

Federal police patrolling the once touristic city of Acapulco.
Night patrolling of the neighborhoods of Zapata.
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017_forgottenguerrero
Mexico; Guerrero; Acapulco; 17/11/18

Federal police patrolling the once touristic city of Acapulco.
Night patrolling of the neighborhoods of Zapata.
018_forgottenguerrero - Mexico; Guerrero; Acapulco; 13/06/19

Crime scene in Acapulco. Acapulco has a rate of 106.63 murders per 100,000 inhabitants.
Mexican President Obrador declared his priority to tackle the dramatically high number of killings. Acapulco continues to be one of the country’s most violent cities. The US Government strongly discourages its citizens to go there.
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018_forgottenguerrero
Mexico; Guerrero; Acapulco; 13/06/19

Crime scene in Acapulco. Acapulco has a rate of 106.63 murders per 100,000 inhabitants.
Mexican President Obrador declared his priority to tackle the dramatically high number of killings. Acapulco continues to be one of the country’s most violent cities. The US Government strongly discourages its citizens to go there.
019_forgottenguerrero - Mexico; Guerrero; Santa Maria de las Suarez; 07/02/18

Abandoned cars in Santa Maria de las Suarez.
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019_forgottenguerrero
Mexico; Guerrero; Santa Maria de las Suarez; 07/02/18

Abandoned cars in Santa Maria de las Suarez.
020_forgottenguerrero - Mexico; Guerrero; Rincon De Chautla; 12/01/20

Portrait of a volunteer of the police community of CRAC-PF in her house.
Women and children have taken up arms after the several attacks by the criminal group of Los Ardillos.
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020_forgottenguerrero
Mexico; Guerrero; Rincon De Chautla; 12/01/20

Portrait of a volunteer of the police community of CRAC-PF in her house.
Women and children have taken up arms after the several attacks by the criminal group of Los Ardillos.
021_forgottenguerrero - Mexico; Guerrero; Ayutla; 03/02/18

Displaced Kids in the area of Ayutla.
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021_forgottenguerrero
Mexico; Guerrero; Ayutla; 03/02/18

Displaced Kids in the area of Ayutla.
022_forgottenguerrero - Mexico; Guerrero; Chilapa De Alvarez; 02/02/18

Detail inside the abandoned home of a former local commissioner in a town near Chilapa. He was one of the leaders of the Los Rojos cartel.
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022_forgottenguerrero
Mexico; Guerrero; Chilapa De Alvarez; 02/02/18

Detail inside the abandoned home of a former local commissioner in a town near Chilapa. He was one of the leaders of the Los Rojos cartel.
023_forgottenguerrero - Mexico; Guerrero; Chichihualco; 19/11/18

Refugee children who have been sheltered since November 2018 in the Chichihualco Auditorium, in the administration of Leonardo Bravo.
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023_forgottenguerrero
Mexico; Guerrero; Chichihualco; 19/11/18

Refugee children who have been sheltered since November 2018 in the Chichihualco Auditorium, in the administration of Leonardo Bravo.
024_forgottenguerrero - Mexico; Guerrero; Acapulco; 08/01/20

Crime scene in the suburbs of Acapulco. A man was shot three times and rescued by paramedics.
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024_forgottenguerrero
Mexico; Guerrero; Acapulco; 08/01/20

Crime scene in the suburbs of Acapulco. A man was shot three times and rescued by paramedics.
025_forgottenguerrero - Mexico; Guerrero; Acapulco; 14/06/19

Local tourists observe freshly caught swordfish in the bay of Acapulco.
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025_forgottenguerrero
Mexico; Guerrero; Acapulco; 14/06/19

Local tourists observe freshly caught swordfish in the bay of Acapulco.
026_forgottenguerrero - Mexico; Guerrero; Chilapa De Alvarez; 04/02/18

Portrait of Salvador Rangel Mendoza, bishop in charge of the Diocese of Chilpancingo-Chilapa.
Stories of the bishop's meetings with the organizers of drug trafficking have certainly created controversy. However, he has the support of the Episcopal Conference of Mexico. And, in general, there are many others who approve of his methods.
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026_forgottenguerrero
Mexico; Guerrero; Chilapa De Alvarez; 04/02/18

Portrait of Salvador Rangel Mendoza, bishop in charge of the Diocese of Chilpancingo-Chilapa.
Stories of the bishop's meetings with the organizers of drug trafficking have certainly created controversy. However, he has the support of the Episcopal Conference of Mexico. And, in general, there are many others who approve of his methods.
027_forgottenguerrero - Mexico; Guerrero; Petlacala; 24/11/18

Church in Petlacala.  
Despite the requests of the locals, the church has never been completed. In fear of the internal feuds between the criminal group of Tequileros and self defense Guerrero Unidos, there are numerous half-finished buildings around the mountainous isolated towns.
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027_forgottenguerrero
Mexico; Guerrero; Petlacala; 24/11/18

Church in Petlacala.
Despite the requests of the locals, the church has never been completed. In fear of the internal feuds between the criminal group of Tequileros and self defense Guerrero Unidos, there are numerous half-finished buildings around the mountainous isolated towns.
028_forgottenguerrero - Mexico; Guerrero; Area of San Miguel Totolapan; 08/02/18

Picture of a wedding left behind in an abandoned home located in the ghost area of San Miguel Totolapan.
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028_forgottenguerrero
Mexico; Guerrero; Area of San Miguel Totolapan; 08/02/18

Picture of a wedding left behind in an abandoned home located in the ghost area of San Miguel Totolapan.
028_forgottenguerrero - Mexico; Guerrero; San Felipe del Ocote; 16/02/18

Local police forces in San Felipe del Ocote. This ghost town is currently under the control of the Familia Michoacana.
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028_forgottenguerrero
Mexico; Guerrero; San Felipe del Ocote; 16/02/18

Local police forces in San Felipe del Ocote. This ghost town is currently under the control of the Familia Michoacana.
030_forgottenguerrero - Mexico; Guerrero; Filo de Caballos; 25/11/18

Boys with their faces covered who fight for the Police of Tlatotepec. Since November 2018, they have occupied the village of Filo De Caballos in order to gain control of the route that connects their territory with capital Chilpancingo.
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030_forgottenguerrero
Mexico; Guerrero; Filo de Caballos; 25/11/18

Boys with their faces covered who fight for the Police of Tlatotepec. Since November 2018, they have occupied the village of Filo De Caballos in order to gain control of the route that connects their territory with capital Chilpancingo.
031_forgottenguerrero - Mexico; Guerrero; Iguala; 25/01/19

A man sniffs the blade of the machete he’s digging with hoping to smell victims’ corpses or body parts. Around him are other volunteers led by Mario Vergara, who for years has helped families find their missing ones.
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031_forgottenguerrero
Mexico; Guerrero; Iguala; 25/01/19

A man sniffs the blade of the machete he’s digging with hoping to smell victims’ corpses or body parts. Around him are other volunteers led by Mario Vergara, who for years has helped families find their missing ones.
032_forgottenguerrero - Mexico; Guerrero; Chichihualco; 26/01/19

Altar made by the displaced of Leonardo Bravo in the auditorium of Chichihualco.
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032_forgottenguerrero
Mexico; Guerrero; Chichihualco; 26/01/19

Altar made by the displaced of Leonardo Bravo in the auditorium of Chichihualco.
033_forgottenguerrero - Mexico; Guerrero; Rincon De Chautla; 12/01/20

Portrait of a mother from Rincon De Chautla with her children.
Like other women she decided to became part the police community to protect her family.
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033_forgottenguerrero
Mexico; Guerrero; Rincon De Chautla; 12/01/20

Portrait of a mother from Rincon De Chautla with her children.
Like other women she decided to became part the police community to protect her family.
034_forgottenguerrero - Mexico; Guerrero; Filo de Caballos; 14/11/18

Interiors of a house seized by the Police of Tlacotepec. 
On its premises, according to the population in Filo de Caballos, many girls were raped by members of the Policia Ciudadana de Leonardo Bravo.
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034_forgottenguerrero
Mexico; Guerrero; Filo de Caballos; 14/11/18

Interiors of a house seized by the Police of Tlacotepec.
On its premises, according to the population in Filo de Caballos, many girls were raped by members of the Policia Ciudadana de Leonardo Bravo.
035_forgottenguerrero - Mexico; Guerrero; Santa Maria de las Suarez; 07/02/18

Woman in her house in Santa Maria de las Suarez. As many other inhabitants of the town is worried about for her safety.
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035_forgottenguerrero
Mexico; Guerrero; Santa Maria de las Suarez; 07/02/18

Woman in her house in Santa Maria de las Suarez. As many other inhabitants of the town is worried about for her safety.
036_forgottenguerrero - Mexico; Guerrero; Acapulco; 09/01/20

Crime scene in Acapulco. The body was left close to the market, not far from the city’s touristic area. Despite the crowded streets, there were no witnesses.
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036_forgottenguerrero
Mexico; Guerrero; Acapulco; 09/01/20

Crime scene in Acapulco. The body was left close to the market, not far from the city’s touristic area. Despite the crowded streets, there were no witnesses.
037_forgottenguerrero - Mexico; Guerrero; Acapulco; 14/06/19

Cliff divers at the sunset in Acapulco.
Over the last few years the city witnessed a terrible escalation in violence. Victims of Acapulco’s violence come in many forms: those caught in feuds between criminal groups, businessmen who don’t pay extortion, or those who cross the invisible boundaries of the cartels are a few examples.
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037_forgottenguerrero
Mexico; Guerrero; Acapulco; 14/06/19

Cliff divers at the sunset in Acapulco.
Over the last few years the city witnessed a terrible escalation in violence. Victims of Acapulco’s violence come in many forms: those caught in feuds between criminal groups, businessmen who don’t pay extortion, or those who cross the invisible boundaries of the cartels are a few examples.
038_forgottenguerrero - Mexico; Guerrero; Acapulco; 17/11/18

Altar of the Virgin Mary in Acapulco.
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038_forgottenguerrero
Mexico; Guerrero; Acapulco; 17/11/18

Altar of the Virgin Mary in Acapulco.
039_forgottenguerrero - Mexico; Guerrero; Chilapa De Alvarez; 10/06/19

Portrait of Jose Navarro.
He leads a Guerrero-based victims advocacy group called Siempre Vivos.
He has been targeted by Los Ardillos since 2014, when he reported to police that members of the group had kidnapped and killed two of his brothers.
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Mexico; Guerrero; Chilapa De Alvarez; 10/06/19

Portrait of Jose Navarro.
He leads a Guerrero-based victims advocacy group called Siempre Vivos.
He has been targeted by Los Ardillos since 2014, when he reported to police that members of the group had kidnapped and killed two of his brothers.
040_forgottenguerrero - Mexico; Guerrero; Rincon De Chautla; 12/01/20

Members of the CRAC-PF community police. In front of them, the village attacked by the criminal group of Los Ardillos.
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040_forgottenguerrero
Mexico; Guerrero; Rincon De Chautla; 12/01/20

Members of the CRAC-PF community police. In front of them, the village attacked by the criminal group of Los Ardillos.
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https://www.alfredobosco.com/forgotten_guerrero-p22763

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