Knights Templar Cartel
|Founder||Nazario Moreno González Enrique Plancarte Solís and Servando Gómez Martínez Dionisio Loya Plancarte|
|Founding location||Michoacán, Mexico|
|Territory||Michoacán, Colima 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, Sinaloa Cartel|
|Rivals||Jalisco New Generation Cartel, Los Zetas, Independent Civilian vigilante and Militia groups|
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 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.
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 placed by La Tuta. The Ethical Code of the cartel is written on a little book that is handed out to all members of the cartel and even to the public. The book is decorated with knights on horse back with lances and crosses. The book is titled "The Code of the Knights Templar of Michoacan" and is 22 pages long filled with rules and regulations of the gang. The gang has based their rules off those of the European Knights Templar and have sworn to help the poor and helpless. The gang members have sworn to things such as fighting against materialism, respecting women and children, prohibiting killing for money, and prohibiting drug use even using drug testing for all members. Still however the Knights Templar cartel have moved more towards accepting criminal acts that are prohibited in their code. The ethical codes however, if broken can still lead to the member being murdered.
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- url=http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/02/27/mexico-captures-la-tuta_n_6768066.html%7Caccessdate=16 march 2015|newspaper=The Huffington Post
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- La Tuta">"Mexico Captures Knights Templar Cartel Leader 'La Tuta'". The World Post. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
- The Code of the Knights Templar of Michoacan">"Mexican drug cartel distributes ethics guide". Stephanie Garlow. globalpost. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
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