Knights Templar Cartel
|Founding location||Michoacán, Mexico|
|Criminal activities||Drug trafficking, Arms trafficking, Kidnapping, Extortion, Racketeering, Murder, Torture, Rape, Robbery, Assault, counterfeiting, money laundering.|
|Rivals||Jalisco New Generation Cartel|
Independent Civilian vigilante and Militia groups, Gente Nueva, La Familia Michoacana
The Knights Templar Cartel (Spanish: Los Caballeros Templarios) is a Mexican criminal organization originally composed of the remnants La Familia Michoacana drug cartel based in the Mexican State of Michoacán.
After the first alleged death of Francisco Montes and co-founder Nazario Moreno, leaders of the La Familia Michoacana cartel, on 9 December 2010, a split between the cartel leaders emerged. Some of the cartel co-founders, Montes brothers; Fred Montes CM and Frank Montes, Servando Gómez Martínez, and Dionisio Loya Plancarte, formed into a Royalty of La Familia calling itself Caballeros Templarios (or Knights Templar). A large part of La Familia Michoacana left with them to form the Knights Templar group, while José de Jesús Méndez Vargas kept the leadership of the now greatly diminished "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" Gómez Leader of the Knights Templar was arrested by the Mexican federal police. A 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.
As of September 2017 it is believed the cartel has ceased to exist after their leader Pablo “El 500” Toscano Padilla is believed to have been killed by members of La Nueva Familia Michoacana as he and Ezequiel “El Cheques” Castañeda, who was also killed were on their way to a regional meeting with members of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, who El 500 was working for and were in the process of forming an alliance with them. The cartel has seen their cartel split in two with either sides siding with CJNG or La Nueva Familia Michoacana cartel.
- Mexican Drug War
- José Manuel Mireles Valverde - leader of a group of paramilitary self-defense groups that work against the Knights Templar Cartel
- 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. Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 September 2011. Retrieved 12 October 2011.
- "Policías comunitarios retiran bloqueo carretero en Guerrero tras 23 horas - Nacional - CNNMexico.com". CNN. 28 August 2013. Archived from the original on 12 November 2013.
- "Mexico police raid 'La Familia drug cartel', killing 11". BBC News. 28 May 2014. Retrieved 30 May 2014.
- "Prevén arrecie lucha por lugar del 'Chayo' en Michoacán". Reforma (in Spanish). Terra. 29 May 2014. Retrieved 29 May 2011.
- Heffernan-Tabor, kelly (29 May 2011). "Mexican Authorities Arrest 46 Suspected Drug Gang Members". WFMY News 2. Archived from the original on 2 June 2011. 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.