Mexico self-defence group leader injured in plane crash


This photo taken on Dec. 1, 2013, shows Dr. Jose Manuel Mireles, the leader of a self-defence group in Michoacan state, Mexico.



Authorities in western Mexico on Monday were investigating the cause of a plane crash over the weekend that killed one person and injured four others, including the leader of a self-defence group.

The plane went down Saturday afternoon near La Huacana, in Michoacan state, about 90 miles from the planned destination of Tepalcatepec, where armed citizens have been battling members of a powerful drug gang.

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Dr. Jose Manuel Mireles, who has been leading efforts to kick the Knights Templar cartel out of the key avocado, mango and lime-growing region, suffered a head injury and dislocated jaw in the accident.

He was reportedly transferred by federal police helicopter to a hospital in Mexico City for treatment.

The other four passengers were also taken to hospital for treatment. One of them later died.

At this stage, officials believe the accident was caused by mechanical failure.

But the timing is considered suspicious, coming just hours after hundreds of members of a vigilante group operating in Michoacan seized control of the town of Paracuaro, resulting in at least one death and the detention of numerous police officers.

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