Nestora Salgado walked out of a Mexican prison, a free woman Friday. Salgado is from Renton, a mother of three, and a U.S. citizen. But her activism against corruption led to her arrest more than two years ago.
A video posted to Twitter Friday morning shows Salgado on the prison steps. Just minutes after her release, she says, "We’ll continue fighting."
Then she holds up a rifle and says, “If this is necessary, that's what it'll come to.”
Salgado became known as La Comandanta, or the Commander.
She earned that name as leader of a community police force in her hometown of Olinala – a remote, indigenous village in the state of Guerrero.
The group mounted patrols in that area to fight corruption, violence, and drug cartels. But some accused her of going too far when the vigilante-style group made arrests and detained people.
Mexican authorities arrested her in 2013. Her charges ranged from kidnapping to murder.
Salgado’s attorneys say the Mexican courts have now cleared her of all charges.
She’s expected to return to the Seattle area in the coming days. Her supporters have also planned a rally for next Saturday, March 26, in downtown Seattle. That's partly to raise awareness for other political prisoners still held in Mexico.