A school that scooped a whopping £710,000 in a Lottery syndicate found themselves in a living nightmare when their prize money drew the attention of a bloodthirsty local gang.
José María Morelos y Pavón kindergarten in El Nacimiento, Chiapas, Mexico, took part in a local lottery and won a staggering 20 million pesos, or £710,000.
Overjoyed, the families and staff at the kindergarten initially celebrated, planning repairs for the school and donations for the local community.
But their joy quickly turned to despair after a local gang got word of the huge win and decided to terrorise the school into giving them the money.
The gang, called Los Petules, demanded that the school use their winnings to buy them guns for an upcoming attack they planned on a rival gang.
But the families refused to bow to their shocking demands.
One of the parents, Melesio López Gómez, toldEl Imparcial: “We won 20 million pesos but the paramilitary gang, the Petules, said the money was for them to buy weapons and we didn’t agree.”
After the initial rejection, the gang issued death threats on four members of the community.
Another member of the school community, Marcelo Santiz López, says the gang shot him in the stomach and robbed him, stealing the credit card used to access the prize money.
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Mr Gómez toldMexico News Dailyof how the entire community – about 28 families – was later forced out of the town, seeking refuge in nearby San Cristóbal de las Casas.
“They threw us out of our homes,” Mr Gómez said.
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The families of El Nacimiento subsequently lost not only their possessions, but the harvests and livestock on which they depended to make a living.
The dispossessed families have taken to protesting, demanding the government disarm Los Petules and in doing so, making it safe for them to return to their homes.
The families also claimed they had petitioned the Attorney General’s Office of Chiapas and other officials, but no one had responded.
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