HomeNewsBrief'Narcomantas' Threaten to Form Guerrilla Army in West Mexico
BRIEF

'Narcomantas' Threaten to Form Guerrilla Army in West Mexico

KNIGHTS TEMPLAR / 7 OCT 2013 BY CHARLES PARKINSON EN

A series of "narcomantas" likely linked to the Knights Templar cartel have appeared in Michoacan threatening to form a guerrilla army to combat self-defense militias, as the west Mexico state's long running conflict takes a new twist.

The "narcomantas" -- banners hung by drug cartels looking to communicate with the population, their rivals, or the state -- were hung around three municipalities in Michoacan State. The banners complain the government is allowing armed groups to exist in the region and pledge to form a guerrilla force "to protect our territory, our life and our family" if those groups are not dissolved, reported Proceso.

The messages were unsigned, although are more than likely linked to the Knights Templar -- the dominant criminal organization in the region, which has for months been locked into a violent struggle with the self-defense militias that have risen up against them.

The banners appeared around the same time the Knights Templar is attempting to stamp its authority on Michoacan by cutting off supplies of gasoline and food to some of the communities most closely associated with the vigilante movement, including Buenavista Tomatlan, Tepalcatepec and Coalcoman. 

InSight Crime Analysis

This latest development in the ongoing conflict in Michoacan underscores the Knights Templar's insistence on depicting itself as not a drug cartel but as a social movement that is forced into illegal activities

As reflected in the banners, the Knights Templar claim to protect the people of the region and defend them against incursions from groups which threaten their interests. Most recently this has included the self-defense groups, which the Knights have accused of operating as a front for their main rivals in the region, the Jalisco Cartel - New Generation (CJNG).

The idea of the Knights forming guerrilla cells fits in with the idea of a "narco-insurgency," in which the line between the political and the criminal becomes increasingly blurred as criminal organizations attempt to impose their will through tactics more commonly associated with rebel movements. If any group were to fulfill the criteria of a "narco-insurgency," it would likely be the Knights Templar, as they already maintain a political facade.

However, in reality the Knights' primary concern is control over criminal revenue streams. Assuming the narcomantas were hung by the Knights, then their intention was likely to increase the pressure on the authorities to act against the self-defense groups, who are proving to be a persistent thorn in the Knights' side, and it is unlikely the region will see any sort of conventional guerrilla movement any time soon.

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

GENDER AND CRIME / 29 MAY 2012

With Mexico’s drug war claiming the lives of more and more men, the ranks of the country’s drug cartels are…

ARMS TRAFFICKING / 26 JAN 2011

During a press conference announcing the arrest and breakup of a United States-based arms smuggling ring, the U.S. Attorney…

MEXICO / 25 OCT 2012

A former top Mexican military official has cautioned legislators that the armed forces are worn down from the long…

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…