The end of 2021 will mark 15 years since the start of Mexico’s “guerra contra el narcotráfico,” a war against drug trafficking that officially began in December 2006, when thousands of soldiers were deployed to topple the cartel terrorizing the state of Michoacán. The war soon spread and plunged the entire country into a downward spiral of violence that continues today.
The current war in Michoacán is between the powerful Jalisco New Generation Cartel or CJNG, led by a notorious kingpin known as El Mencho, and an alliance of groups known as the United Cartels. Some communities also rely on citizen-led militias to battle the cartels.
VICE News reporter Keegan Hamilton and producer Miguel Fernández Flores traveled to the epicenter of the conflict in Michoacán, meeting cartel members on both sides and seeking to understand if anything will or can change for the better.