HomeMexicoServando Gomez Martinez, alias 'La Tuta'
MEXICO

Servando Gomez Martinez, alias 'La Tuta'

LA FAMILIA MICHOACANA / LATEST UPDATE 2017-03-09 23:49:35 EN

Servando Gomez Martinez, alias "La Tuta," was a former high-ranking member of the Familia Michoacana, who split from the group following the supposed death of top commander Nazario Moreno Gonzalez, alias "El Chayo," in December 2010. Following a two-year manhunt for La Tuta, the drug lord was captured by an elite police force in February 2015.

History

Gomez was originally a schoolteacher from Arteaga, Michoacan, which inspired his other alias, "El Profe" or the professor. As recently as December 2010, he was still on federal payroll for his teaching job.

In the public arena, Gomez was a fervent promoter of the Familia’s vigilante ideology, and claimed the group’s ultimate purpose was to protect Michoacan from unwelcome outsiders, namely, the Zetas, a rival criminal gang that trained the original members of the Familia before the group became independent.

During a phone interview with a local TV program, "Voz y Solucion," in 2009, Gomez praised President Felipe Calderon and the Army, then claimed the Familia’s only grievances were with the Zetas and the Federal Police for "attacking our families." Members of the Familia followed a strict behavioral code and those who disobeyed were "made to pay," he added, unlike the Zetas, about whom he said: "Most of them are drug addicts."

La Tuta Factbox

DOB: February 6, 1966

Group:  Knights Templar

Criminal Activities: Drug trafficking, extortion, illegal arms possession

Status: Captured

Area of Operation: Michoacan, Mexico

After his split from the Familia -- whose remnants were led by Jose de Jesus Mendez, alias "El Chango" -- Gomez  headed the Caballeros Templarios (Knights Templar), a drug trafficking organization with the same quasi-religious sensibility and faux-moral codes as the Familia. The Caballeros announced their appearance in March 2011, and for a while seemed ascendent over the Familia, with Mendez in jail and many analysts considering the old group to be effectively out of action. However, the government soon came down hard on the Knights Templar. The organization also faced pressure from the multiple citizen militia groups that formed in Michoacan throughout 2013 and 2014.

Gomez's nephew, girlfriend, mother and brother were all arrested between July and August 2009. That same year, a New York grand jury indicted Gomez for drug trafficking. While Gomez continued to release statements to the public via social media, including one vow that he would never surrender, he was arrested in Morelia, Michoacan in February 2015.

In many respects, La Tuta's capture spelled the end for the Knights Templar as a powerful crimininal organization in Mexico.

Criminal Activities

La Tuta is reportedly charged by Mexican authorities with methamphetamine and marijuana trafficking, as well as posession of military weaponry and ammunition. La Tuta's Knights Templar are also heavily involved in extortion operations in Michoacan.

Geography

Prior to his capture, La Tuta was based in Michoacan and Guerrero, and coordinated drug shipments through Baja California.

Allies and Enemies

La Tuta professed to standing up against other Mexican drug trafficking groups such as the Zetas, who inflicted harm on the general population. With the backing of government security forces, self-defense groups have driven the Knights Templar out of several cities in Michoacan. It is believed a significant number of Knights Templar operatives have moved on to other criminal groups, including the self-defense forces.

The Jalisco Cartel – New Generation (CJNG) is the newest criminal group challenging the supremacy of the Knights Templar in southwest Mexico.

Prospects

La Tuta is reportedly wanted in the United States not only on drug trafficking charges, but also for either being a terrorist or belonging to a terrorist organization. This classification is typically reserved for members of illegal Colombian armed groups the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC). However, considering chilly US-Mexico relations surrounding extraditions, it remains to be seen if La Tuta will ever face prison time in the United States.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

KNIGHTS TEMPLAR / 11 JUN 2013

Gangsters certainly crowd the ranks of the more than 26,000 people said to have disappeared amid Mexico's criminal wars. And…

KNIGHTS TEMPLAR / 25 APR 2014

Vigilantes in Mexico have entered a cave complex with guns blazing as they hunt down the Knights Templar's remaining leader…

KNIGHTS TEMPLAR / 20 JUN 2011

Twenty-three people were killed in the Mexican state of Michoacan in one weekend, as the split between different leaders of…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution Met With Uproar

6 MAY 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime launched its latest investigation, Venezuela’s Cocaine Revolution¸ accompanied by a virtual panel on its findings. The takeaways from this three-year effort, including the fact that Venezuela…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela Drug Trafficking Investigation and InDepth Gender Coverage

29 APR 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime will be publishing The Cocaine Revolution in Venezuela, a groundbreaking investigation into how the Venezuelan government regulates the cocaine trade in the country. An accompanying event,…

THE ORGANIZATION

InDepth Coverage of Juan Orlando Hernández

22 APR 2022

Ever since Juan Orlando Hernández was elected president of Honduras in 2014, InSight Crime has provided coverage of every twist and turn during his rollercoaster time in office, amid growing…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution

15 APR 2022

On May 4th, InSight Crime will publish a groundbreaking investigation on drug trafficking in Venezuela. A product of three years of field research across the country, the study uncovers cocaine production in…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Widespread Coverage of InSight Crime MS13 Investigation

8 APR 2022

In a joint investigation with La Prensa Gráfica, InSight Crime recently revealed that four of the MS13’s foremost leaders had been quietly released from…