Crime and Violence

Authorities arrest eight suspects with presumed ties to Knights Templar

Presumed marijuana and weapons seized by Federal Police upon arresting two KTO leaders' nephews on June 4. Photo: Noticieros Televisa.
Presumed marijuana and weapons seized by Federal Police upon arresting two KTO leaders’ nephews on June 4. Photo: Noticieros Televisa.

06/12/14 (written by aalvarez) — Federal and state officials delivered another blow this month to the Knights Templar Organization (Caballeros Templarios, KTO) with the arrest of eight alleged cartel members, including two of the nephews of former KTO leaders and a current KTO operator. The arrests fall in line with the federal and state governments’ targeted efforts against the KTO, which is predominantly based in western state of Michoacán. Three of the organized crime group’s four leaders were brought down at the beginning of 2014, leaving Servando “La Tuta” Gómez Martínez presumably in charge.

On June 4, Federal Police (Policía Federal, PF) arrested Faustino Andrade González (46), the nephew of former KTO leader Nazario “El Chayo” Moreno González who was killed in March, and Mario Loya Contreras (40), the nephew of former KTO leader Enrique “El Kike” Plancarte Loya who was killed in April. Authorities confirmed that Moreno’s nephew held control over the Guanajuatillo community in Apatzingán. The suspects were arrested along with three others in Apatzingán, Michoacán. The Federal Police report that no shots were fired, though the suspects were in possession of several weapons and ammunition, as well what appeared to be marijuana.

Two days after, authorities detained Pedro Naranjo García, who was presumed to be El Chayo’s main operator within the cartel. A joint effort by the Michoacán State Attorney General’s Office (Procuraduría General de la Justicia del Estado, PGJE) and the Ministry of Public Security (Secretaría de Seguridad Pública, SSP) led to Naranjo García’s arrest. Authorities had found ties connecting the suspect to the August 2013 killing of 15 victims in Michoacán, saying that he followed El Chayo’s orders to murder the individuals and bury them in a mass grave in the El Alcalde village in Apatzingán, Michoacán. The victims, who included four children, were discovered in March 2014. Two other suspects, Enrique Arriaga Herrera (24) and Miguel Ángel Padilla Pedraza (27), were arrested several weeks before Naranjo García and have since confessed to their involvement in the murders.

Authorities continue to make inroads against the Knights Templar Organization, aided in part by the self-defense groups (grupos de autodefensa) operating in Michoacán. The state has since institutionalized the groups as part of the official state security apparatus, though it is a little too early to speculate on the success of the regulation.


Caballero, Eliseo. “Detiene PF a sobrinos de ‘El Chayo’ y de ‘Kike’ Plancarte.” Noticieros Televisa. June 5, 2014.

Notimex. “Cae en Michoacán operador de ‘El Chayo’.” Excélsior. June 6, 2014.

Redacción. “Detiene Procuraduría General de Justicia de Michoacán a operador de ‘El Chayo’.” La Jornada. June 6, 2014.

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