HomeNewsBriefCan Mexico Break Knights Templar's Hold on Michoacan Port?
BRIEF

Can Mexico Break Knights Templar's Hold on Michoacan Port?

KNIGHTS TEMPLAR / 5 NOV 2013 BY NATALIE SOUTHWICK EN

The Mexican government has ordered federal troops to seize control of the Pacific coast port and Knights Templar stronghold Lazaro Cardenas, illustrating the difficulty authorities face fighting a criminal organization that has co-opted much of Michoacan state.

On November 4, the government announced the navy, army and federal police would take over security in Lazaro Cardenas, one of Mexico's busiest sea ports, reported Animal Politico. The forces are combining to protect the port's operations, replacing the local police force, which was disarmed and taken out of action while awaiting further training.

Lazaro Cardenas, in the embattled Michoacan state, has become a "gold mine" for the Knights Templar, who control much of the activity within the port, reported Milenio. The group "taxes" products passing through the port, and combines money laundering with more than two dozen other activities including selling pirated DVDs and brand-name clothing, mineral exportation, drug trafficking and extortion of businesses operating in and around the port.

InSight Crime Analysis

For years, Lazaro Cardenas has been a vital link in drug trafficking networks, functioning as a major entry point for drugs and precursor chemicals. The port is also a source of valuable information for local criminal organizations, which extort both the local and international businesses that operate there.

This criminal jewel is currently in the hands of the Knights Templar, whose violent campaigns against the state, rival traffickers and vigilante "self-defense" forces have left Michoacan state close to ungovernable and raised fears of a "narco-insurgency." 

SEE ALSO: Knights Templar Profile

The assault by the federal forces on Lazaro Cardenas appears to be an attempt to strike at the Knights in their economic hub, a move likely inspired by the hope that if the authorities can break their grip there then it will begin to loosen elsewhere in the state.

However, as illustrated by the fact the federal forces felt they had to bypass the local police to operate, the Knights' influence in the region runs deep and will not be easily uprooted. The government has tried and failed to retake Lazaro Cardenas in the past, and there is no reason to believe anything will be different this time. The Knights' influence extends throughout the local economy, and the "gold mine" of the port, and indeed of Michoacan, is not something they will readily walk away from.

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

ARMS TRAFFICKING / 7 MAR 2022

Authorities in Mexico recently seized an historic amount of high-powered weapons and ammunition in a northern border state, laying bare…

BELTRAN LEYVA ORG / 12 AUG 2021

Mexico's process of criminal fragmentation has been a slow burn. Many of the country's mightiest criminal groups have been unable…

ECUADOR / 16 NOV 2021

After yet another prison massacre, Ecuadorean authorities have doubled down on Mexico’s two biggest cartels being behind gang warfare in…

About InSight Crime

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Extensive Coverage of our Chronicles of a Cartel Bodyguard

23 SEP 2022

Our recent investigation, A Cartel Bodyguard in Mexico’s 'Hot Land', has received extensive media coverage.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime, American University Host Illegal Fishing Panel

19 SEP 2022

InSight Crime and the Center for Latin American & Latino Studies (CLALS) at American University discussed the findings of a joint investigation on IUU fishing at a September 9 conference.

THE ORGANIZATION

Impact on the Media Landscape

9 SEP 2022

InSight Crime’s first investigation on the Dominican Republic made an immediate impact on the Dominican media landscape, with major news outlets republishing and reprinting our findings, including in …

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Sharpens Its Skills

2 SEP 2022

Last week, the InSight Crime team gathered for our annual retreat in Colombia, where we discussed our vision and strategy for the next 12 months.  During the week, we also learned how to…

THE ORGANIZATION

Colombia’s Fragile Path to Peace Begins to Take Shape

26 AUG 2022

InSight Crime is charting the progress of President Gustavo Petro’s agenda as he looks to revolutionize Colombia’s security policy, opening dialogue with guerrillas, reforming the military and police, and…