HomeNewsBriefMexico's Knights Templar Earns $73 Mn Before US Drug Profits
BRIEF

Mexico's Knights Templar Earns $73 Mn Before US Drug Profits

KNIGHTS TEMPLAR / 7 NOV 2013 BY CHARLES PARKINSON EN

Mexico's Knights Templar earns more than $73 million each year outside of its drug trafficking activities, revealing the diverse criminal portfolio of the group and the difficulties authorities face in tackling it.

Raising money from kidnapping and extortion, contraband and counterfeit goods, investments in legitimate businesses, and protection rackets, the group -- which is based in the Pacific coastal state of Michoacan -- earns in excess of $6 million each month, without counting profits from drug sales in the United States, reported Milenio.

According to information gathered by Mexican security services and accessed by Milenio, the group earns $2.2 million each month from local drug transportation and sales, and up to $600,000 more from illegal activities such as car theft, kidnapping and the black market. Close to $1 million is raised each month from extorting businesses, while in excess of $1 million comes from extorting local governments. A further $1.3 million comes from legitimate businesses, which are also used to launder illicit profits.

The breakdown of the Knights Templar's domestic earnings came on the same day it was announced one of the group's leaders, Leopoldo Jaimes Valladares, had been arrested in possession of military-grade weaponry. Jaimes has been accused by authorities of being behind much of the violence carried out in the state, amid suggestions he was involved in coordinated attacks recently carried out against energy installations.

InSight Crime Analysis

The revelation of just how much the Knights Templar earns, before even taking into consideration revenues from the US drug market, supports the notion that it is now one of Mexico's most powerful criminal groups. Its grip over the port of Lazaro Cardenas -- a key entry and departure point for contraband, drugs and precursor chemicals -- has given it a prominent position within the pacific drug trade; something Mexican authorities have recently tried to address by sending federal forces in to take control of the port.  

SEE ALSO: Knights Templar News and Profile

However, previous attempts to confront the Knights Templar with federal force have failed to dislodge the group. Earlier this year a series of attacks against security forces, as well as the assassination of a top naval official -- which were subsequently linked to the Knights Templar -- led to the deployment of federal troops. However the group's power remains unbroken.

The biggest challenge the group seems to have faced is the rise of a vigilante self-defense movement, which claims to oppose criminality and has caused the Knights Templar to cut off fuel and food supplies to certain municipalities. However, accusations that a rival criminal group is funding the vigilantes have muddied the waters of an already complex criminal landscape.  

With the Knights Templar's stronghold now under federal supervision, it remains to be seen whether the group will be adversely affected, or if it will simply return to the fore as soon as federal forces retire.

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 / 25 APR 2013

Two of Mexico’s biggest political parties have been trading allegations of ties to drug cartels, hinting at the murky connections…

MEXICO / 30 AUG 2019

Notwithstanding the bloodshed in perennial hotspots like Tijuana and Acapulco, the surge of violence in oft-overlooked mid-sized towns such as…

ECUADOR / 6 OCT 2011

Faced with surging crime and corrupt police forces, many Latin American governments are turning to their militaries to combat citizen…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Apure Investigation Makes Headlines

22 OCT 2021

InSight Crime’s investigation into the battle for the Venezuelan border state of Apure resonated in both Colombian and Venezuelan media. A dozen outlets picked up the report, including Venezuela’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.