Cartel Land

Synopsis: A physician in Michoacán, Mexico leads a citizen uprising against the drug cartel that has wreaked havoc on the region for years. Across the U.S. border, a veteran heads a paramilitary group working to prevent Mexico's drug wars from entering U.S. territory.
Genre: Documentary
Director(s): Matthew Heineman
Production: The Orchard
  Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 18 wins & 35 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
100 min


There's an

imaginary line out there

Between right and wrong.

Good and evil.

I believe

what I'm doing is good.

And I believe what I'm

standing up against is evil.

It's the cartels, they are the

ones terrorizing their own country

And now they're starting

to do it over here.


on the us border with mexico.

with a porous border

cartel violence is spreading.

warning visitors to beware

of heavily armed drug smugglers

And human traffickers.

ranchers finding

drug stashes on their property.

Calling the border patrol,

sometimes getting help sometimes not.

this area has been

ceded to the cartels.

This is no longer really the United States.

They own it.

the situation's getting so bad

That border patrol agents

are completely overwhelmed.

concerned citizens

are arming themselves,

Trekking into dangerous

cartel territory.

we're out here alone,

The situation becomes

more violent everyday

And it concerns us

not just for our safety,

But for the future

of this nation.


right around the f***ing corner

And there's the staging area

a f***ing mile away.

They're gonna have...

If they come through,

They're gonna have

to walk right by us.

Stick hard f***ing left.

Stay close to the brush.

If anything f***ing happens,

they will have no problem fighting it out.

We're so close to the f***ing

border right now.

They have more guns,

they have more people.

It's kind of like a david

and goliath story out here.

We're david and they're goliath.

That's where the dirt bags are

sitting up top, right up there.

That's where we're gonna go.

Roger that.



The cartel scouts

keep getting away.

Damn it!

They have a beautiful

set up here.

They just have to sit right here

And they can see the road

for miles and miles and miles.

Mexican cartels control this.

Technically we're vigilantes

Upholding the law

where there is no law.

But the phrase vigilante,

It's been given a bad name

by the media.

they are heavily armed and

claim to be protecting our state

From foreign threats

and from our own government.

But the state's growing

militia movement

Is causing concern

among law enforcement


Back in the day

vigilante wasn't a bad thing.

Say the bandits was

riding into your town,

The town's people would all get together

and, you know, defend their town.

Now when people hear that phrase

they think of a vigilante

As somebody who's got white

sheets over their head

And they're gonna hang

f***ing people from trees.

It's bullshit.

This is what I consider

to be the wild wild west.

There is nothing down here,

there's no mall.

I'm supposed to be able

to pick up my telephone

And go, "911 come help us."

But it's an hour

and a half out of tucson.

What the f*** am I going to do

sitting around for an hour and a half

If I'm being attacked

by the cartels?

People scream out,

you know, "oh, your racists.

Oh, you're vigilante,"

and la la la.

Bring your asses down here.

I'll take you out

on a nickel tour

In the middle

of the fricking night,

And you tell me that

it's safe and secure.

Those f***ers over there,

the cartels,

They don't care about anybody.

thanks to a new report

By the southern

poverty law center,

We know that anti-government

patriot groups are now

At an all time high

in this country.

We need to pay attention

to this folks.


So the southern

poverty law center

Has just labeled us

an extremist hate group.

But we're just regular

people who're standing up

And saying, "enough's enough,

we're sick and fricking tired."

Something needs to be done.

I believe that everybody

has a purpose,

All roads lead to one spot

and this is where I am now.

I left home when I was 15,

I was tired

of the physical and mental,

Emotional, whatever you want to

call the abuse by my father.

So I tried to drown out the

feelings and everything out

With alcohol and drugs.

I tried meth for a year or so,

Couldn't even control myself.

And one day I stopped at a bar

And had a few too many.

And I was passing this semi,

and somebody was coming head on.

And I got in front of the semi

and started sliding sideways,

And I remember looking up at him and

he just threw his hands up and said,

"can't do anything, sorry."

The truck rolled six times

and I climbed out

Looked down and there was my wallet

and the pictures of my two kids,

And so I said,

"okay, I got it."

So 18 years ago

I quit everything.

Realized that I needed

to deal with, uh, my issues.

And so, I dealt with them.

Once I got cleaned up

I was working construction,

But back in late

'08 when the economy started falling apart

I lost my job overnight,

I lost my house,

I had to sell everything.

I hit the road for a year,

year and a half,

But everywhere I went there was illegals

working on every construction job.

A lot of them are doing

work under the table,

They're not paying taxes,

they're sucking into the system.

So I said, "well I got to

Try to help and do

something about this."

So that's how arizona border

recon came in existence.

I took the last of my savings,

came down to the border.

Lived in my truck for the first

two months in the mountains.

I would drive the roads,

find the trails,

And apprehend illegals

coming out of that area.

but once I learned how the

cartels pretty much controlled,

Both the human smuggling

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "Cartel Land" STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 25 May 2024. <>.

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