Alex (13), left, stands at the front of a line of children, some armed with rifles and some with mock weapons, as they demonstrate the military skills they have been taught after becoming members of the Regional Coordinator of Community Authorities (CRAC-PF) police force. Alex had to stop attending the high school in the neighbouring town of Hueycantenango due to the presence of the Los Ardillos drug cartel in the area. He has joined the community police along with his father.
CRAC-PF was formed as a response, by a cluster of remote farming villages largely inhabited by indigenous Nahuas, to the violent Los Adillos drug cartel who want to force the farmers to grow opium poppies. In reality the town's elders admit that the training and arming of their children is really a ploy to get the attention of the central government who they say have failed to respond to their plight. Nonetheless, children cannot leave the villages defended by the CRAC-PF in order to attend secondary school and anyone caught by the brutal cartels is at risk of losing their life.