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Mexico's La Familia cartel to government: We'll disband if you protect citizens

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When La Familia of Michoacán came onto the scene this decade, they marketed themselves as vigilantes protecting a vulnerable state from the vices of drugs and the threats of kidnappers and other criminals running rampant.

How quickly money can corrupt.

In short time, the group turned into one of the most savage drug trafficking organizations in Mexico, taking over the methamphetamine trade and beheading rivals and gunning down officials who have gotten in their way. When they tossed five human heads onto a dance floor in 2006 in Uruapan, it sealed Mexico's reputation as a state degenerating from within. Since then, La Familia's acts of savagery have continued unabated.

Are we to now believe they're shedding the bad boy reputation?

This week they reportedly distributed a letter saying that they promise to disband if the government promises to, in turn, protect Michoacán's citizens from rival drug trafficking gangs and the abuses from authorities.

"We have decided to retreat and return to our daily productive activities if the federal and local authorities ... promise to take control of the state with force and decision," read the missive, which has not been authenticated but was reportedly dropped in the streets of various towns throughout the state and sent via e-mail to some reporters. "If the government accepts this public commitment and lives up to it, La Familia Michoacána will dissolve."

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