Knights Templar Cartel
Knights Templar—Guard of Michoacán (Spanish: Los Caballeros Templarios Guardia Michoacana) commonly known as the Knights Templar Cartel (Spanish: Los Caballeros Templarios) is a Mexican criminal organization composed of remnants of the defunct La Familia Michoacana drug cartel based in the Mexican State of Michoacán.
After the first alleged death of Nazario Moreno, leader of the La Familia Michoacana cartel, on 9 December 2010, a split between the cartel leaders emerged. Some of the cartel co-founders, Enrique Plancarte Solís, Servando Gómez Martínez, and Dionisio Loya Plancarte, formed an offshoot of La Familia calling itself Caballeros Templarios (or Knights Templar). A large part of "La Familia" left with them to form their Templars Organization, while José de Jesús Méndez Vargas kept the leadership of the now disbanded "Familia Michoacana", starting a fight for the control of Michoacán.
The Knights Templar Cartel indoctrinates its operatives to "fight and die" for the cartel. They have taken full control of the now-defunct La Familia Michoacana operations in states including Michoacán, Guerrero, the state of Mexico, and Morelos.
Along with the Sinaloa Cartel and Gulf Cartel, the Knights Templar formed a short-lived joint enforcer gang called Cárteles Unidos (English: United Cartels) or La Resistencia, composed of well-trained gunmen dedicated to kill and expel Los Zetas Cartel operatives who were invading the former Familia Michoacana territories in Michoacán and Jalisco.
The Templars' most recent feud is against the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, which is trying to gain full control of Jalisco and Michoacán, and also against Civilian vigilante and Militia groups that are fighting back the criminals in an attempt to clear Michoacan from the Knights Templar.
On February 27, 2015, Servando "La Tuta" Gomez Leader of the Knights Templar was arrested by the Mexican federal police. A non-specific number of his associates were also arrested and many properties were also seized by the Mexican government.
Previous to that date, on 17 March 2012, the Knights Templar Cartel allegedly put up 14 banners on bridges of the León, San Miguel de Allende, Irapuato, Salamanca, Yuriria, Moroleón and Uriangato, municipalities of Guanajuato, pledging to not provoke any violent acts during the pope's visit. The banners read the following:
|“||The Knights Templar Cartel will not partake in any warlike acts, we are not killers, welcome Pope.||”|
The Knights Templar cartel was founded on a strict ethical code developed by La Tuta. The code is contained in a small book that is handed out to all members of the cartel and even to the public. The book is decorated with knights on horseback with lances and crosses. The 22 page book is titled "The Code of the Knights Templar of Michoacan" and contains the rules and regulations of the gang. The gang has based its rules on those of the European Knights Templar. Members swear to help the poor and helpless, fight against materialism, respect women and children, not kill for money, and not use drugs. The Knights even go as far as drug testing all members. While the cartel has moved more towards accepting criminal acts prohibited by the ethical code, breaking the code can still incur punishment by death.
- Vega, Aurora (7 August 2011). "Surgen cuatro grupos del narco en 2011; El blachkammer es el capo más poderoso". Excelsior (in Spanish). Retrieved 7 August 2011.
- McCAUL, MICHAEL T. "A Line in the Sand: Confronting the Threat at the Southwest Border" (PDF). HOUSE COMMITTEE ON HOMELAND SECURITY. Retrieved 12 October 2011.
- "Policías comunitarios retiran bloqueo carretero en Guerrero tras 23 horas - Nacional - CNNMexico.com". CNN. 28 August 2013.
- "Mexico police raid 'La Familia drug cartel', killing 11". BBC News. 28 May 2011. Retrieved 30 May 2011.
- "Prevén arrecie lucha por lugar del 'Chayo' en Michoacán". Reforma (in Spanish). Terra. 29 May 2011. Retrieved 29 May 2011.
- Heffernan-Tabor, Kelly (29 May 2011). "Mexican Authorities Arrest 46 Suspected Drug Gang Members". WFMY News 2. Retrieved 30 May 2011.
- "One capo falls, others move in - Mexico Unmasked". Retrieved 4 October 2015.
- "Mexico Captures Knights Templar Cartel Leader 'La Tuta'". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 16 March 2015.
- "Pope's visit to Guanajuato puts spotlight on magical Guanajuato". The Washington Post. 7 March 2012. Retrieved 18 March 2012. [dead link]
- "Con mantas, Templarios dan bienvenida al papa y prometen tregua durante su visita". Proceso. 17 March 2012. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
- ""Caballeros Templarios" ofrecen tregua por visita del Papa". Milenio (in Spanish). 18 March 2012. Retrieved 19 March 2012.
- "Caballeros Templarios le dan la bienvenida al Papa". Terra Networks (in Spanish). 17 March 2012. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
- "Mexico Captures Knights Templar Cartel Leader 'La Tuta'". The World Post. 27 February 2015. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
- "Mexican drug cartel distributes ethics guide". Stephanie Garlow. globalpost. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
- "Patterned After the Knights Templar, Drug Cartel Issues "Code of Conduct". Fox News. 20 July 2011. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
Names in italics represent dead or arrested individuals.