HomeNewsBriefMexico Colludes with Alleged Criminals to Hunt Knights Templar
BRIEF

Mexico Colludes with Alleged Criminals to Hunt Knights Templar

KNIGHTS TEMPLAR / 21 NOV 2014 BY JAMES BARGENT EN

The prosecutor general of Michoacan state in west Mexico has admitted carrying out operations with alleged drug traffickers in the hunt for Knights Templar criminal boss "La Tuta," yet again raising the specter of state collusion with organized crime.

The revelation follows accusations by Servando Gomez, alias "La Tuta," that officials in Michoacan were collaborating with the Sierra Santana brothers, better known as "the Viagras."

When questioned by journalists on the allegations, Jose Martin Godoy Castro said "These people you are talking about [the Viagras] have participated in some of the operations we have carried out in the hunt for this criminal leader [La Tuta]."

Godoy specifically mentioned the recent operation to take down La Tuta's security chief Jose Julio Mendoza, alias "El Parotas."

In the recording released by La Tuta (see video below), he claimed the Viagras were once his lieutenants in the state of Guerrero but defected to join the Guerreros Unidos -- the group accused of massacring 43 missing students in Iguala.

In September this year, Nicolas Sierra Santana denied any links to criminal activities and claimed the name "the Viagras" was simply a nickname for his family.

InSight Crime Analysis

While the Viagras' criminal activities remain legally unproven, there is plenty of evidence to suggest they are part of the west Mexico underworld, including a video in which its leaders appear with La Tuta, who orders them out of his territory.

The admission that the Mexican authorities were working alongside the group provides yet another example of the authorities' "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" approach to security in Michoacan, which has succeeded in decimating the Knights Templar but may be creating new centers of criminal power.

With La Tuta and the Knights apparently in terminal decline, the Michoacan underworld is beginning to reorganize. The Viagras, along with criminal-linked members of the vigilante militias that helped take down the Knights, are prime candidates to fill the vacuum, and any links they forge with the authorities will doubtless help them in this task.

SEE ALSO: Mexico's Security Dilemma: Michoacan's Militias

Cooperation between the authorities and the Viagras also edges Mexico closer to realizing fears that the approach taken in Michoacan may end up mirroring events in Colombia, where the state colluded with drug trafficking paramilitaries to combat guerrilla groups -- a relationship that still haunts the country today, eight years after the paramilitaries demobilized.

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

MEXICO / 6 NOV 2017

Several recent government reports show that Mexico continues to struggle with combating money laundering, a longstanding problem exacerbated by…

HUMAN RIGHTS / 19 JAN 2016

Another group of youths in Mexico have gone missing, leading to the arrest of a police chief and six other…

HEROIN / 26 MAY 2017

The US Treasury Department has assigned a little-known heroin trafficking group based in Mexico to its "Kingpin" list, raising questions as…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Unraveling the Web of Elites Connected to Organized Crime

27 JUL 2021

InSight Crime published Elites and Organized Crime in Nicaragua, a deep dive into the relationships between criminal actors and elites in that Central American nation.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime’s Greater Focus on US-Mexico Border

20 JUL 2021

InSight Crime has decided to turn many of its investigative resources towards understanding and chronicling the criminal dynamics along the US-Mexico border.

THE ORGANIZATION

Key Arrests and Police Budget Increases Due to InSight Crime Investigations

8 JUL 2021

With Memo Fantasma’s arrest, InSight Crime has proven that our investigations can and will uncover major criminal threats in the Americas.

THE ORGANIZATION

Organized Crime’s Influence on Gender-Based Violence

30 JUN 2021

InSight Crime investigator Laura N. Ávila spoke on organized crime and gender-based violence at the launch of a research project by the United Nations Development Programme.

THE ORGANIZATION

Conversation with Paraguay Judicial Operators on PCC

24 JUN 2021

InSight Crime Co-director Steven Dudley formed part of a panel attended by over 500 students, all of whom work in Paraguay's judicial system.