Mexico vigilantes parade through Knights Templar stronghold
Mexican vigilante groups have paraded through a stronghold of the Knights Templar drug cartel in the troubled state of Michoacan.
The vigilantes had driven into Apatzingan on Saturday, backed by armoured vehicles and troops.
On Sunday, they drove round the town shouting slogans before convening at the city's main square.
The groups began an offensive last month aimed at ending the drug gang's activities in Michoacan.
The government recently reached a pact with the groups, granting them temporary legal status by redefining them as Rural Defence Corps.
Knights Templar drug cartel
- First emerged in 2011 as an offshoot of La Familia Michoacana drug cartel
- Takes its name from a Christian military order from the Middle Ages
- Claims to protect Michoacan residents from kidnappings, extortion and robberies committed by rival gangs
- Controls much of the methamphetamine and marijuana trade in western Mexico
The Knights Templar cartel controls much of the drug trafficking in the area, carrying out killings and kidnappings and extorting money from local people.'In charge'
Hundreds of vigilantes, backed up by armoured vehicles and troops, had set up roadblocks around the western city before entering it on Saturday.
Dozens of people have been detained on suspicion of working for the cartel by police and vigilante forces.
"I consider it a triumph, a triumph to be able to be here in Apatzingan," said one leader, Hipolito Mora.
"Many thought it was impossible. Thank God they were wrong and we are here. I feel calm."
Members of the patrols met government forces on the outskirts of the city to discuss their next steps following Sunday's action, according to reports.
Mexico's attorney general Jesus Murillo Karam said the city was under government control.
Vigilante leaders, joined by the official security forces and the army, have been searching house by house for leaders of the Knights Templar.
Among those arrested is said to be Antonio Magana Pantoja, the brother of Narazario Moreno and cousin of Enrique Plancarte, two alleged cartel founders.
At the beginning of January, the "self-defence groups" launched an offensive against the Knights Templar gang, taking over several municipalities in Michoacan.
On 11 January, they also occupied the central square of Apatzingan, where the cartel's command is based.
But there were reprisals, with arson attacks against local businesses.
The new strategy has been agreed between the vigilante leaders, army and police officers and President Enrique Pena Nieto's envoy to Michoacan, Alfredo Castillo.
The Knights Templar cartel has accused the vigilantes of working as a proxy army for the New Generation cartel, from neighbouring Jalisco state.
The two rival organisations have been fighting a turf war for control of criminal activities in Michoacan and Jalisco.
But the vigilantes have fiercely denied any involvement with the New Generation cartel.
They say they have taken matters into their own hands as the Mexican government has failed to guarantee the security of their families.
More than 70,000 people have died in drug related violence across Mexico in the past six years.