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Mexico's new rural police suffer lack of training, accusations of infiltration, same as old

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In this May 8, 2014 photo, weapons that belong to members of self-defense groups sit on chairs during a weapons registration operation in Apatzingan, Mexico. The self-defense members, identified by their white T-shirts, have registered thousands of weapons. But they’ve been allowed to keep them, even the large-caliber rifles that under Mexican law can only be used by the military. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)The Associated Press

A new police force made up of former vigilantes fighting a drug cartel already faces some of the same problems as the disbanded local law enforcement agencies it is replacing in western Mexico.

The federal government acknowledges that the new rural police force in Michoacan state is being given uniforms and powerful weapons with minimal background checks and virtually no training.

The government also says that it's relying on recommendations from former commanders of the "self-defense" groups about whom to deputize. Those are the same people who rose up to fight the Knights Templar cartel when local and state authorities wouldn't.