One of the founders of the vigilante self-defense movement in western Mexico says he is running for congress on the ticket of a small party.

Hipolito Mora was the first leader to come out publicly in favor of an uprising against the Knights Templar drug cartel in 2013 in the western state of Michoacan.

On Wednesday, Mora announced his candidacy for the small, leftist Citizens Movement party.

While the self-defense movement has been largely successful in ousting the cartel, Mora has twice been arrested in connection with the deaths of rival vigilantes. Both times, charges were dropped and he was released.