While all of Mexico has suffered its share of brutal drug cartel and gang violence, Michoacan state has perhaps suffered the worst from Mexico drug gangs. And now, a new gang is emerging. They are called Los Viagras, and it is feared they may soon gain control of the drug-torn Michoacan turf in Mexico.
Los Viagras — their gang name inspired by Viagra, the erectile dysfunction/male sexual enhancement drug — is mysteriously emerging as the most powerful gang in the drug ravaged Michoacan state of Mexico, rising from the ashes of past alpha-drug-cartels to fill the void left behind by other Mexico drug gangs like the Knights Templar.
Los Viagras members say they are fighting for “social causes” in Mexico, reports Yahoo News, but at the same time the gang is also reportedly trying to take over previous drug cartel strongholds.
The drug cartel void made available to Los Viagras has opened up in the last few years as Knights Templar, which once dominated the area with help from local authorities, has been all but wiped out, their “chief” killed in March of last year. Local lime and avocado farmers had finally had enough of being shaken down and taken advantage of by the Knights Templar, so in 2013 they took up arms, banded together, and formed a vigilante group that took the fight to them.
The lime and avocado farmer vigilantes of Mexico, sanctioned and deputized by local law enforcement, prevailed.
But as often happens where power, and the tools for it, are to be had, Los Viagras is taking the Knights Templar’s place.
Looming in the area mountains near the town of Apatzingan, Los Viagras members are “quiet, waiting for the moment to muster strength and power,” says local religious leader Javier Cortes.
Ongoing political turmoil and Mexico dismissing government officials appointed to the area, such as Thursday’s confirmation by ABC News, that federal security commissioner, Alfredo Castillo, had been let go after arriving a little over a year ago to oversee the troubled Michoacan state, may also play into Los Viagras’s hands.
But who is Los Viagras?
The Los Viagras gang, who some believe is a “myth” cobbled together from local lore and events, was reportedly founded by one Nicolas Sierra Santana and his seven brothers, who, together as a group, have been involved in the drug trade and are loyal to whoever pays them the most.
Other gangs and cartels such as La Familia Michoacana and the Knights Templar benefited from the services of the Brothers Sierra Santana.
As if in preparation for becoming Los Viagras, the brothers played the roles of hit-men, spies, and conducted other nefarious drug activity on behalf of their drug cartel predecessors.
The Los Viagras name stems from one of the brothers being called “El Viagra” by locals because after taking a Viagra pill, he got a girl pregnant.
But as Los Viagras has begun to coalesce, many are concerned that others are becoming involved in the Mexico drug gang element, such as the deputized vigilante lime and avocado farmers — also known as the “rural force” — which Mexico says it is disbanding.
And the government of Mexico is now as committed to taking down Los Viagras, as a panicked Viagra user might be to taking down an erection that has lasted more than four hours.
“The new goal in Michoacan is (to take down) Los Viagras,” said a federal police commander who was sent to the area following a shootout between a group of civilians and law enforcement on January 6, in which several people were killed. The civilians involved in this skirmish were believed to be connected to both the vigilante group and Los Viagras.
Former intelligence agent Alejandro Hope says Los Viagras “operates quite openly, almost like a political group.”
Other officials also believe that Los Viagras will follow in the footsteps of other Mexico drug gangs and cartels and team up with, and gain power from, Michoacan leaders, June elections being just around the corner.
With its prime location on Mexico’s Pacific Coast, Michoacan provides Mexico drug gangs and cartels, such as the emerging Los Viagras, with excellent locations from which to ship their product to the U.S.
[Images via AFP video]