The Knights Templar Cartel (Spanish: Caballeros Templarios) is a Mexican criminal organization and an offshoot of the La Familia Michoacana Cartel based in the Mexican state of Michoacán.
After the death of Nazario Moreno González, leader of La Familia Michoacana Cartel, the other cartel co-founders, Enrique Plancarte Solís and Servando Gómez Martínez, formed an offshoot of La Familia calling itself Caballeros Templarios (or Knights Templar). Dionicio Loya Plancarte would also join.
The Knights Templar Cartel indoctrinates its operatives to "fight and die" for what they call "social justice". They have taken full control of the now extinct La Familia Michoacana Cartel operations in states like Michoacán, Guerrero, State of Mexico, Morelos. Its armed wing is La Resistencia.
On 17 March 2012 in the state of Guanajuato, the Knights Templar Cartel put up several banners on bridges welcoming the Pope Benedict XVI, and pledging to not provoke any violent acts during the pope's visit. The 14 banners read the following:
|“||The Knights Templar Cartel will not partake in any warlike acts, we are not killers, welcome Pope.||”|
The banners were put up in the municipalities of León, San Miguel de Allende, Irapuato, Salamanca, Yuriria, Moroleón, and Uriangato. Other banners were allegedly signed by The Jalisco New Generation Cartel. Pope Benedict XVI was scheduled for a visit on 23 March 2012 in Guanajuato.