HomeNewsBriefKnights Templar Control Mexico Iron Mines Supplying China
BRIEF

Knights Templar Control Mexico Iron Mines Supplying China

CHINA AND CRIME / 4 DEC 2013 BY NATALIE SOUTHWICK EN

Mexico’s Knights Templar criminal organization is exerting control over the mining process for iron that supplies the Chinese market, offering another example of how the group has extended its reach into diverse sectors of the Mexican economy.

Mexican authorities say local drug cartels, particularly the Knights Templar, are profiting from the country’s lucrative mining sector, reported the Associated Press. The group now is involved in various aspects of the mining and export process for iron headed to Chinese factories from the group’s home state of Michoacan. They allegedly obtain iron through extortion and robbery, as well as illegally extracting the metal themselves and selling it to export companies.

As early as 2010, Mexico’s Attorney General’s office found that international companies working in Mexico with connections to the Familia Michoacana exported an estimated 1.1 million tons of iron that year.

According to official statistics, iron exports to China quadrupled between 2008 and the first half of 2013, and currently average about 4.6 million tons annually. Over the same time period, the Lazaro Cardenas port in Michoacan has risen to become the most important export point for the material, accounting for almost half of all China-bound iron shipments as of mid-2013.

InSight Crime Analysis

Since rising from the remnants of the Familia Michoacana in 2011, the Knights Templar has become one of Mexico’s most powerful cartels, effectively controlling the western state of Michoacan. The organization’s incursion into the mining industry appears to be the latest extension of its use of extortion and economic leverage to protect its interests and maintain power over industries in the region.

See Also: Knights Templar News and Profile

Cartels have been involved in Michoacan’s mining industry for several years, and officials reported in August that criminal organizations now control mining in at least five Mexican states. Federal sources cited by the Associated Press said they were aware of cartel involvement in mining as far back as 2010.

Despite this, the authorities apparently took little action until November this year, when the government sent troops into Lazaro Cardenas, acknowledging the Knights Templar controlled much of the activity at the country’s second-largest port.

The expansion of criminal groups into the mining sector has also occurred in Colombia, where groups like the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) have turned it into a major source of funding. Like the FARC, the Knights Templar is likely looking toward mining as yet another income source for its increasingly diversified criminal portfolio.

Compartir icon icon icon

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.

Related Content

COLOMBIA / 14 JUL 2017

In our July 13 Facebook Live, Executive Director Jeremy McDermott spoke to InSight Crime investigator James Bargent about what are…

ELITES AND CRIME / 28 JUN 2016

The future of the recently elected governor in Tamaulipas, one of Mexico’s most criminally infested states, depends on punishing…

LA FAMILIA MICHOACANA / 24 MAY 2011

A Mexican judge released 26 policemen who were accused of links to drug trafficking organization the Familia…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…