HomeNewsBriefRoman Helmets Found in Safe House Add to Knights Templar Image
BRIEF

Roman Helmets Found in Safe House Add to Knights Templar Image

KNIGHTS TEMPLAR / 1 MAR 2012 BY GEOFFREY RAMSEY EN

Mexican security forces found 120 plastic Roman warrior-type helmets at a safehouse belonging to the Knights Templar, an offshoot of the once powerful Familia Michoacana criminal organization, in an illustration of the gang’s penchant for rituals and symbolism.

On February 27, the Mexican military raided three drug laboratories used to manufacture synthetic drugs in the western state of Michoacan. At one site, they found the 120 plastic helmets (see video below), along with ceremonial robes and cloaks. The costumes were reportedly worn by members of the Knights Templar during initiation ceremonies.

Officials also seized a large quantity of precursor chemicals used to produce methamphetamine, as well as laboratory equipment and several handheld radios. No arrests were made in the operations, which were part of the security surge in Michoacan that the government began last month.

InSight Crime Analysis

The Knights Templar are an offshoot of the once mighty Familia Michoacana drug gang, which splintered into several factions after the December 2010 death of Familia boss and spiritual leader Nazario Moreno.

The discovery of the helmets and costumes fits well with what is known about the group’s self-image. Like the Familia before them, the Knights Templar have enforced their gang identity with an ideology that characterizes itself as protectors of the state of Michoacan. A pamphlet the group distributed last year was adorned with images of gallant knights, and described the gang as champions in the “fight against materialism, injustice and tyranny.”

More recently, the group called for a truce in the state of Guanajuato during the upcoming visit of Pope Benedict XVI and accused the Mexican military of human rights abuses, further portraying themselves as devout defenders of the common man. Unfortunately, this image is difficult to reconcile with their record of drug trafficking, extortion and murder.

Compartir icon icon icon

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

HOMICIDES / 11 DEC 2012

A new report from a Mexico consulting firm on organized crime-related killings in November -- the final month of former…

HUMAN SMUGGLING / 25 MAR 2011

A new short film “Does the Wall Work?” answers its own question, compiling arresting footage of migrants and traffickers breaching…

MERIDA INITIATIVE / 1 NOV 2010

The New York Times published a piece Friday on the push to reform Mexico's security forces.

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…