Knights Templar—Guard of Michoacán (Spanish: Los Caballeros Templarios Guardia Michoacana) commonly known as the Knights Templar Cartel (Spanish: Los Caballeros Templarios) is a Mexican criminal organization composed of remnants of the defunct La Familia Michoacana drug cartel based in the Mexican state of Michoacán.
After the first alleged death of Nazario Moreno, leader of the La Familia Michoacana cartel, on December 9, 2010, a split between the cartel leaders started, some of the cartel co-founders, Enrique Plancarte Solís, Servando Gómez Martínez, and Dionisio Loya Plancarte formed an offshoot of La Familia calling itself Caballeros Templarios (or Knights Templar). A large part of “La Familia” left with them to form their Templars Organization, while José de Jesús Méndez Vargas kept the leadership of the now disbanded “Familia Michoacana,” starting a fight for the control of Michoacán.
The Knights Templar Cartel indoctrinates its operatives to “fight and die” for “the cartel.” They have taken full control of the now-extinct La Familia Michoacana operations in states including Michoacán, Guerrero, the state of Mexico, and Morelos.
With the Sinaloa Cartel and Gulf Cartel, formed a short-lived joint enforcer gang called Cárteles Unidos (English: United Cartels) or La Resistencia, composed of well-trained gunmen dedicated to kill and expel Los Zetas Cartel operatives that were invading the former Familia Michoacana territories in Michoacán and Jalisco.
The Templars’ most recent feud is against the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, which is trying to gain full control of Jalisco and Michoacán, and also against Civilian vigilante and Militia groups that are fighting back the criminals in an attempt to clear Michoacan from the Knights Templar.