The Michoacanazo: A Case-Study of Wrongdoing in the Mexican Federal Judiciary

Gabriel Ferreyra


The Michoacanazo was a federal criminal trial in Mexico prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Office against local and state public officials from the state of Michoacán who were indicted for having ties with the local drug cartel formally known as “La Familia Michoacana.” With the indictment, more than 30 public servants were arrested and sent to prison in a roundup carried out by the federal police in May 2009. Within a two-year period, all of those arrested were eventually released. This case had strong legal and political implications nationwide because it pitted the state of Michoacán against the federal government, as well as President Felipe Calderon’s administration against the Mexican Federal Judiciary. The Michoacanazo provides a glimpse into the inner workings of the Mexican federal judiciary when powerful interests collide, and corruption intermingles with politics, a drug cartel, and the complexities of handling drug-related trials.


The Michoacanazo; Mexican Federal Judiciary (MFJ); judicial corruption; ‘La Familia Michoacana’ drug cartel; ethnography

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