Knights Templar News

Were Police Involved in Disappearance of Mexico Vigilantes?

Were Police Involved in Disappearance of Mexico Vigilantes?

Twelve members of a self-defense group in Mexico's Michoacan state went missing after going out on patrol in November 2014. Their families now say that police were involved -- whatever the truth of the matter may be, the case is indicative of a wider problem in Mexico: lack of justice for the disappeared, including and especially for those who don't... Read More

Knights Templar Profile

Knights Templar

Knights Templar

The Knights Templar (Cabelleros Templarios) emerged in March 2011 as a splinter group of the once-mighty Familia Michoacana. Like their predecessors, the Knights Templar cast themselves as a "self-defense" movement engaged in a struggle with Mexico's larger criminal cartels on behalf of the Michaocan population, and frequently employ religious imagery in their public communiques. The arrest or killing of several top leaders in 2014 and 2015 has put the criminal organization's future in doubt.

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More Knights Templar News

  • Were Police Involved in Disappearance of Mexico Vigilantes?

    Self-defense forces in Michoacan

    Twelve members of a self-defense group in Mexico's Michoacan state went missing after going out on patrol in November 2014. Their families now say that police were involved -- whatever the truth of the matter may be, the case is indicative of a wider problem in Mexico: lack of justice for the disappeared, including and especially for those who don't fit the profile of an ordinary civilian. 

  • The New Criminal Players in Mexico's Embattled Michoacan State

    Recently released vigilante leader Hipolito Mora

    It would be easy to think that given all that has happened in Mexico's Michoacan state over the last few months, everything has changed. Knights Templar leader Servando Gomez, alias "La Tuta," entered the Mexican prison system, while the charismatic leader of the Michoacan self-defense groups, Hipolito Mora, recently exited it. But while the names of those who lead criminal groups may change in this Pacific state, the inertia of Michoacan's institutions remains the same -- as well as the criminal groups that take advantage of this.

  • It's Time for Mexico to Change How it Pursues Drug Lords

    The recent detention of Servando “La Tuta” Gomez and Omar “Z42” Treviño was arguably the culmination of Mexico's high-value target strategy. However, the real work for Mexico's security apparatus has just begun, and it involves removing the incentives that drive crime lords to violence.

  • How La Tuta's Video Showmanship Set Him Apart in Mexico

    Knights Templar leader Servando “La Tuta” Gomez, who was arrested by Mexican authorities today, was renowned for his extensive and bombastic reliance on video recordings, behavior that differentiated him from other cartel leaders and earned him a reputation as an unabashed showman.

  • Mexico Captures 'La Tuta' but Michoacan Struggles On

    The capture of yet another high-level target -- this time Servando Gomez, alias "La Tuta," the leader of the Knights Templar -- should be cause for celebration in Mexico, but the statistics indicate that the government may need to reassess what success means in embattled states like Michoacan.

  • Mexico Colludes with Alleged Criminals to Hunt Knights Templar

    Nicolas Sierra, leader of the Viagras in Michoacan, Mexico

    The prosecutor general of Michoacan state in west Mexico has admitted carrying out operations with alleged drug traffickers in the hunt for Knights Templar criminal boss "La Tuta," yet again raising the specter of state collusion with organized crime.

  • Mexico Mayors' Narco Ties Go Far Beyond Iguala

    The Iguala ex-mayor and his wife, both accused of narco ties

    Government information indicates that 12 mayors across Guerrero, Mexico may have criminal ties -- suggesting that a dynamic pushed into the public eye by the case of 43 missing student protesters in Iguala is worrisomely widespread in this state and likely others.

  • Mexico's Knights Templar Leader Vows to Never Surrender

    Knights Templar leader "La Tuta" enjoys the media spotlight

    The head of Mexican criminal group the Knights Templar, "La Tuta," has vowed to "fight to the end" in a defiant rant released at a time when staying quiet and rebuilding his forces may actually be the better option for the besieged gang.

  • How the Jalisco Cartel Evolved with Mexico's Drug War

    A narco-message signed by the Jalisco Cartel

    In the competitive and ever-changing environment of Mexico's drug trade, groups like the CJNG and the Knights Templar have kept their position by adopting a regional strategy, rather than expanding across the country. The fact that the CJNG is still growing highlights its adaptability, and willingness to adopt a vigilante discourse when necessary.

  • After Vigilante War, Drug Trafficking Returns to Michoacan, Mexico

    In late September, members of Mexico's Gendarmerie, the new federal police squad, made a quiet but significant discovery among the lime farms of the Tierra Caliente region in Michoacan state. Hidden among a clump of trees in the municipality of Buenavista were plastic barrels emitting the bittersweet smell of crystal meth, known by residents of this valley as "ice" or "hielo."