Knights Templar Cartel
|Founding location||Michoacán, Mexico|
|Territory||Michoacán, Guerrero, state of Mexico, Morelos|
|Criminal activities||Drug trafficking, money laundering, kidnapping, racketeering, murder, arms trafficking, robbery, assault, counterfeiting.|
|Allies||Gulf Cartel, Beltran-Leyva Cartel|
|Rivals||Jalisco New Generation Cartel, Los Zetas, Independent Civilian vigilante and Militia groups,Sinaloa 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 December 9, 2010, a split between the cartel leaders started, 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-extinct La Familia Michoacana operations in states including Michoacán, Guerrero, the state of Mexico, and Morelos.
With the Sinaloa Cartel and Gulf Cartel, 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 that 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.
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.||”|
- Vega, Aurora (7 August 2011). "Surgen cuatro grupos del narco en 2011; El Chapo 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". HOUSE COMMITTEE ON HOMELAND SECURITY. Retrieved 12 October 2011.
- "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.
- "Pope's visit to Guanajuato puts spotlight on magical Guanajuato". The Washington Post. 7 March 2012. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
- "Con mantas, Templarios dan bienvenida al papa y prometen tregua durante su visita". Proceso. 17 March 2012. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
- (Spanish) ""Caballeros Templarios" ofrecen tregua por visita del Papa". Milenio. 18 March 2012. Retrieved 19 March 2012.
- (Spanish) "Caballeros Templarios le dan la bienvenida al Papa". Terra Networks. 17 March 2012. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
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