As La Familia Michoacana and Los Caballeros Templarios battle it out, bodies are strewn across Southern Mexico

After last year’s killing of La Familia Michoacana’s notorious leader, Nazario Moreno Gonzales, by Mexican law enforcement, the ultra-Christian ultra-violent Mexican drug cartel split into two parts: a surviving La Familia faction, and Los Caballeros Templarios (the Knights Templar).

Violent fighting has erupted between the two factions as they seek control over the lucrative methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana drug trade in and exported from Michoacan and its neighbor states. The most recent fighting has been brutal, with dozens of message-laden bodies left scattered across Southern neighborhoods.

21 Bodies Found in South Mexico
Patrick Corcoran | 09 June 2011

Twenty-one corpses, seemingly killed by suffocation, were found in Michoacan, a state along Mexico’s Pacific coast known as the base of drug trafficking gang the Familia Michoacana.

. . turmoil among the remaining leaders of the Familia, which has been buffeted by a series of blows from the government in recent months, has precipitated a split, with former Familia boss Servando Gomez, alias “La Tuta,” taking a big chunk of the gang and forming a group dubbed the Caballeros Templarios (Knights Templar).

The portion of the group still calling itself the Familia is loyal to leader Jose de Jesus Mendez, alias “El Chango,” and the Caballeros have been battling it out for control of Michoacan, which is a valuable site of methamphetamine production as well as home to one of Mexico’s largest ports, in Lazaro Cardenas.


The most recent killings came over the weekend:

23 Bodies dumped in southern Mexico
June 21, 2011

The bodies of 23 murder victims have been dumped at various locations in the southern Mexican state of Michoacan over the past three days, an official told Efe.

Five men were found shot to death Monday in Paracho, a town about 80 kilometers (50 miles) west of Morelia, the state capital.

The five bodies were left at three different spots in the town, each accompanied by a message claiming responsibility on behalf of Los Caballeros Templarios (Knights Templar), a remnant of the La Familia Michoacana drug cartel, the state official said . .

On Saturday, the bodies of eight murdered men appeared on the streets of Lazaro Cardenas, a port city in Michoacan . .

The La Familia faction led by Jesus Mendez is battling the faction led by Servando Gomez and Enrique Plancarte, who formed Los Caballeros Templarios in March, journalists from Michoacan told Efe.

La Familia Michoacana began unraveling after the death in a shootout with Federal Police officers in late 2010 of Nazario Moreno Gonzalez, known as “El Chayo.”

A total of 15,270 people died in drug-related violence in Mexico last year, and nearly 40,000 people have died since President Felipe Calderon declared war on the country’s cartels shortly after taking office in December 2006.


And now, breaking news: La Familia’s leader, Jose de Jesus Mendez Vargas, got captured by federales yesterday. In the war between the two ultra-Conservative Christianist drug cartels, the advantage swings to the Knights Templar.

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