The government will try to engage Mexico's community policing groups in a dialogue to try to halt the spread of these vigilante groups, Deputy Communications Secretary Eduardo Sanchez said.

"This process demands, of course, a political role, dialogue and the federal government will be willing to participate at all times to assist and support the state and municipal governments," Sanchez said.

The community policing groups have sprouted in several states, especially amid the crime wave of the past few weeks.

Vigilante groups have existed for some time in the southern state of Guerrero, with several organizations joining the 17-year-old Community Police in trying to catch suspected criminals.

Residents tried to form self-defense groups in Santos Reyes Nopala, a city in Oaxaca state, and in Tabasco state recently.

New vigilante groups were created this week in Buenavista Tomatlan and Tepalcatepec, both cities in Michoacan state, with masked members brandishing AK-47 assault rifles.

President Enrique Peña Nieto's administration is seeking "compliance with the rule of law" and offering "the citizenry conditions of security that will allow them to co-exist in peace with guarantees that their property, lives and families will not be affected," Sanchez said.

Last week, a community policing group in Guerrero released the last 20 people it had been holding "under guard" since Jan. 5 for allegedly committing crimes.

The captives were released under an agreement with state and federal officials, and the Union of Peoples and Organizations of Guerrero State, or UPOEG, expects that the individuals will be tried by the courts, the group's leader, Bruno Placido, told Efe.

UPOEG, whose members are armed and wear hoods, was created in January in the cities of Ayutla de los Libres, Teconoapa and San Marcos to protect the communities.

The self-defense group controlled access to the communities and policed them to fight a crime wave. EFE