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Aug 14, 2013 5:40 PM by Associated Press

Mexico drug cartel launches rare publicity push

MEXICO CITY (AP) - A group of farmers and businessmen from the western Mexico state of Michoacan are demanding the government withdraw thousands of federal police sent in to fight a local drug cartel.

The group cited a long list of what it claimed were abuses by federal police.

While the group denied any links to the Knights Templar drug cartel, its news conference Wednesday coincided with a rare public relations campaign by the cartel.

The cartel's leader also raged against federal police in a videotaped statement posted over the weekend on social media sites.

Both the cartel and the group of businessmen railed against "self-defense" groups set up by residents in several Michoacan towns to fight off the Knights Templar.

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