When it comes to Mexico’s drug cartel crisis, we rarely hear any news that’s short of devastating. Canadian photojournalist Brett Gundlock, however, tells the incredible story of one small village’s victory against the cartels through his series La Puebla seen on Wired.

After successfully driving away a cartel-backed group of loggers who’d completely destroyed their surrounding forest, the unified villagers of Cherán formed their own community guard,  and have been able to keep the cartels out ever since. Today, free of the corrupt police that previously failed to protect their community, they’re recognized by the Mexcan government as an autonomous government (which is based on indigenous Purepecha traditions). While Gundlock emphasizes that danger still looms and they are by no means a utopia, it’s not hard to see why he was so inspired by Cherán’s self-built world.