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

EL CHAPO / 10 MAR 2014

A prominent Italian author and mafia expert has claimed Sinaloa Cartel leader Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada was behind the capture…

MERIDA INITIATIVE / 18 AUG 2011

The U.S. has announced plans to give direct aid, including police training, to local and state-level authorities in Mexico.

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…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Environmental and Academic Praise

17 JUN 2022

InSight Crime’s six-part series on the plunder of the Peruvian Amazon continues to inform the debate on environmental security in the region. Our Environmental Crimes Project Manager, María Fernanda Ramírez,…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Series on Plunder of Peru’s Amazon Makes Headlines

10 JUN 2022

Since launching on June 2, InSight Crime’s six-part series on environmental crime in Peru’s Amazon has been well-received. Detailing the shocking impunity enjoyed by those plundering the rainforest, the investigation…

THE ORGANIZATION

Duarte’s Death Makes Waves

3 JUN 2022

The announcement of the death of Gentil Duarte, one of the top dissident commanders of the defunct Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), continues to reverberate in Venezuela and Colombia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Cattle Trafficking Acclaim, Investigation into Peru’s Amazon 

27 MAY 2022

On May 18, InSight Crime launched its most recent investigation into cattle trafficking between Central America and Mexico. It showed precisely how beef, illicitly produced in Honduras, Guatemala…

THE ORGANIZATION

Coverage of Fallen Paraguay Prosecutor Makes Headlines

20 MAY 2022

The murder of leading anti-crime prosecutor, Marcelo Pecci, while on honeymoon in Colombia, has drawn attention to the evolution of organized crime in Paraguay. While 17 people have been arrested…