Knights Templar Cartel

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Los Caballeros Templarios
Movimiento templario.png
FoundedDecember 2010 by Nazario Moreno Gonzalez and Servando Gomez Martinez
Founding locationMichoacán, Mexico
Years activeDecember 2010– September 2017
TerritoryMichoacán, Mexico[1]
Criminal activitiesDrug trafficking, arms trafficking, kidnapping, extortion, racketeering, murder, robbery, assault, counterfeiting, money laundering.[2][3]
AlliesGulf Cartel
Beltrán-Leyva Cartel
Sinaloa Cartel
RivalsJalisco New Generation Cartel
Juarez Cartel
Los Zetas
Independent Civilian vigilante and Militia groups
Gente Nueva
La Familia Michoacana[4]

The Knights Templar Cartel (Spanish: Los Caballeros Templarios)[5][6] was a Mexican criminal organization originally composed of the remnants of La Familia Michoacana drug cartel based in the Mexican State of Michoacán.[7][8]

After the first alleged death of Francisco Montes and co-founder Nazario Moreno, leaders of the La Familia Michoacana cartel, on 9 December 2010,[8] 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).[7][8][9][10] 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.[11]

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.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]

On 27 February 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.[12]

Narco-banners prior to Pope Benedict XVI's visit[edit]

The former Pope Benedict XVI had a visit scheduled on 23 March 2012 to the Mexican state of Guanajuato.[13]

Previous to that date, on 17 March 2012, the Knights Templar Cartel allegedly put up 14 banners on the bridges of 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.[14] The banners read the following:

The Knights Templar Cartel will not partake in any warlike acts, we are not killers, welcome Pope (sic).[15]

There were other similar banners that were allegedly signed by their rivals, the Jalisco New Generation Cartel.[16]

Ethical Code[edit]

The Knights Templar cartel was founded on a strict ethical code[17] 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.[18] 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.[19] While the cartel has moved more towards accepting criminal acts prohibited by the ethical code, breaking the code can still incur punishment by death.[citation needed]

End of cartel[edit]

As of September 2017, it is believed the cartel has ceased to exist after their leader Pablo "El 500" Toscano Padilla and his lieutenant Ezequiel "El Cheques" Castaneda were reported to have been killed by remnants of La Nueva Familia Michoacana Organization while on their way to a regional meeting with members of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel to form an alliance with them.[20] By May 2020, all 39 non-New Generation cartel operating in Guerrero were splinter cartels.[21] In June 2020, it was reported that the Cartel del Abuelo and Los Viagras, as well as to a lesser extent the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, were the active cartels in Michoacán.[22]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 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.
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ García, Jacobo (26 May 2017). ""Mexico is 10 times worse than when I was locked up:" Mireles" – via
  4. ^ "Policías comunitarios retiran bloqueo carretero en Guerrero tras 23 horas - Nacional -". CNN. 28 August 2013. Archived from the original on 12 November 2013.
  5. ^ Crime, InSight (27 March 2017). "Knights Templar".
  6. ^ EDT, Carlos Ballesteros On 10/30/17 at 12:38 PM (30 October 2017). "Mexican drug dealers play a role in why your avocado is more expensive". Newsweek.
  7. ^ a b "Mexico police raid 'La Familia drug cartel', killing 11". BBC News. 28 May 2014. Retrieved 30 May 2014.
  8. ^ a b c "Prevén arrecie lucha por lugar del 'Chayo' en Michoacán". Reforma (in Spanish). Terra. 29 May 2014. Retrieved 29 May 2011.
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ "One capo falls, others move in - Mexico Unmasked". Archived from the original on 4 October 2015. Retrieved 4 October 2015.
  11. ^ Ávalos, Héctor Silva (27 March 2017). "Familia Michoacana".
  12. ^ "Mexico Captures Knights Templar Cartel Leader 'La Tuta'". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 16 March 2015.
  13. ^ "Pope's visit to Guanajuato puts spotlight on magical town of Guanajuato". Retrieved 15 March 2022.
  14. ^ "Con mantas, Templarios dan bienvenida al papa y prometen tregua durante su visita". Proceso. 17 March 2012. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
  15. ^ ""Caballeros Templarios" ofrecen tregua por visita del Papa". Milenio (in Spanish). 18 March 2012. Archived from the original on 19 March 2012. Retrieved 19 March 2012.
  16. ^ "Caballeros Templarios le dan la bienvenida al Papa". Terra Networks (in Spanish). 17 March 2012. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
  17. ^ Rama, Anahi (27 February 2015). "Mexico Captures Knights Templar Cartel Leader 'La Tuta'". HuffPost. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
  18. ^ "Mexican drug cartel distributes ethics guide". Stephanie Garlow. GlobalPost. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
  19. ^ "Patterned After the Knights Templar, Drug Cartel Issues "Code of Conduct". Fox News. 20 July 2011. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
  20. ^[dead link]
  21. ^ "La guerra cotidiana: Guerrero y los retos a la paz en México". 4 May 2020.
  22. ^ "Why the Jalisco Cartel Does Not Dominate Mexico's Criminal Landscape". 11 June 2020.