LOS CABALLEROS TEMPLARIOS
The unwanted third party in the Mexican narco-war
The Mexican criminal world, constantly evolving, truly makes life difficult for law enforcement, continously faced with a reality, on the ground, extremely fickle. Planning efforts in the short and medium term often prove to be out of date, frustrating at all, or at least making them unremarkable, wide-ranging investigative activities against this so changeable enemy.
When now even strictest analysts were inclined to define the Mexican criminal landscape essentially in the hands of two dominant forces, the Sinaloa Federation and Los Zetas, a new force has emerged, demonstrating an organizational and resilient ability than minor criminal associations: Los Caballeros Templarios (the Knights Templar).
In fact, this network, has at least 600 organic elements and whose leader is Servando Gomez Martinez, aka La Tuta or El Profe, born in the state of Michoacan, had already shown his operational skillness, especially in relation to the ability to contrast and resistance to Los Zetas and to the Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generacion, main opponents in the management of drug markets (plazas) in the relevant area of the Caballeros Templarios, for instance the state of Michoacan.
The latter, today, extend their activities, as reported by Government sources, in 10 of the 32 Mexican States and are responsible, as other organizations, for illegal activities of various kinds, in addition, obviously to drug trafficking. However the data characterizing this organization is certainly the primacy in the production and sale of synthetic drugs that, by now, in Mexico, one of the largest sources of income of those organizations managing to carve out a role within this illegal industry.
From a popular point of view, so to speak, which in reality has its practical implications in the life of the organization, the Caballeros Templarios claim a role a role in assisting communities in which they operate; an assistance properly of social nature, in order to defend interests of the people, mantaining in this way a certain continuity with a Marxist and revolutionary past, that has never missed even Mexican criminal organizations. This is a typical strategy of approach to the people, aimed to obtain a certain neutrality acting as guarantors of social peace that, on the contrary, the central government fails to provide.
The choice of the name itself denounces a communication strategy of which we understand the strength and the need expressed, as in the case, for instance, of Italian mafia-type organizations, through a specific ritual that the Caballeros Templarios have crystallized into a “booklet” that contains the program of the organization and 50 basic points.
The state of Michoacan has always been at the center of struggles between various criminal organizations as hosting Pacific harbours essential for the supply of chemical precursors needed for the synthesis of narcotics, that’s the main source of income of the criminal organization.
From an analytical point of view are finally highlighted two aspects:
-synthetic drugs, produced on their own, have a very high commercial value and provide a source of income, handled in complete autonomy, decidedly superior than the cocaine trafficking that, we remind, affects Mexico as a country of transit that, in the criminal chain of the traffic from producer to final consumer, provides a gain of about 20-25 per cent of the total value;
The unwanted third party between the two major criminal organizations, Los Zetas and the Sinaloa Federation, could play an important role in the complex balance of Mexican criminal world, especially at this juncture in which Los Zetas are in serious trouble, following the arrest of the last leader Miguel Trevino Morales, aka Z40.
Having regard to the circumstances, surely this new criminal network has inside itself, for characteristics and genesis, discrete potentialities to assume a leading role in defining the criminal balance in Mexico.
translation by Ernesto Cosentini