The head of Mexican criminal group the Knights Templar, "La Tuta," has vowed to "fight to the end" in a defiant rant released at a time when staying quiet and rebuilding his forces may actually be the better option for the besieged gang.
In the audio (see below) published on October 28 on a Facebook page called Michoacan Without Censorship ("Michoacan Sin Censura"), Servando Gomez Martinez, alias "La Tuta," said he repented the crimes he had committed, but that he would continue his criminal activities and never stop resisting Mexican security forces.
La Tuta also refused to turn himself in to authorities, saying he would only "pay [for my crimes] before God." He went on to ask forgiveness from all the family members of those who had died because of him.
In addition, he claimed "almost all, that is, over 50 percent" of the self-defense militas that have fought against him in Michoacan had previous links to the Knights Templar.
InSight Crime Analysis
The Knights Templar have always had an idiosyncratic approach to organized crime, spurning operating in the shadows in favor of loud public relations campaigns and a prominent media profile. La Tuta has played a leading role in this, frequently appearing in videos to promote the Knights and disparage their enemies.
However, the Knights are currently a criminal group on the ropes, battered by an assault by vigilante militias and security forces. After the the deaths of former leader, Nazario Moreno Gonzalez, alias "El Chayo" and second-in-command Enrique "El Kike" Plancarte in March 2014, La Tuta is now their only remaining visible leader.
SEE ALSO:Coverage of La Tuta
At such a moment, the most prudent course would likely be following the low-profile approach that has well served Mexico's most successful criminal organization, the Sinaloa Cartel, and look to quietly regroup away from the eyes of the media and the authorities. Instead, La Tuta's defiant message acts as reminder that the Knights are not yet finished and that he remains at large, and the more that message is promoted in the media, the more likely it is that authorities will ensure it does not stay that way.