In medieval times, the Knights Templar fought for Christians during the Crusades. But today, according to a new report from McClatchy newspapers, meth-peddling gangsters in Mexico have taken the Templar name.
It's an ironic twist that Roman Catholic clergy among their fiercest enemies, and are being forced to wear bullet-proof vests as a consequence.
This is happening in the Mexican state of Michoacan, where Catholic priests are openly backing armed vigilante groups that are pushing back against the Knights Templar gang.
“We ask politicians, the government and the Interior Secretariat to give people of our region clear signals that in reality they want to halt the ‘killing machine,’ ” said Bishop Miguel Patino Velazquez.
The brother of two Mexican cartel leaders was sentenced Thursday to 20 years in prison for laundering money from an Oklahoma horse ranch (shown here), according to The Associated Press.
Jose Trevino Morales was found guilty of investing $16 million of drug money in the buying, training and racing of horses across the Southwest, the AP reported.
His two brothers are believed to lead the notorious Zetas cartel, known for a myriad illicit activities, including kidnapping, extortion, migrant trafficking, weapons trafficking, even theft of oil from state pipelines.
During the horse operation trial earlier this year, prosecutors said the money laundering operation in Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico created fake companies and in some cases fixed races.
Purported drug cartel operator Sandra Avila Beltran, known as the "Queen of the Pacific," was returned to Mexico from the U.S. on Tuesday and quickly taken to prison to face money-laundering charges, according to The Associated Press.
At the time of her earlier arrest, prosecutors said Avila, known for her good looks and saucy attitude, spent more than a decade working her way to the top of Mexico's drug trade, seducing several notorious kingpins and uniting Colombian and Mexican gangs.
Avila is the niece of Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo, "the godfather" of Mexican drug smuggling, who is serving a 40-year sentence in Mexico for drug smuggling and the murder of DEA agent Enrique Camarena.