Los Caballeros Templarios Cartel Kills Mexican Navy Personnel
By Dialogo July 31, 2013
Three members of the violent Los Caballeros Templarios cartel were arrested by Mexican authorities for allegedly killing a Navy vice admiral and his assistant in the tumultuous state of Michoacán (west) on July 28, where a local chief of police was found dead a day later.
In recent days, confrontations between security forces and Los Caballeros Templarios have intensified in Michoacán, where President Enrique Peña Nieto started his first major security deployment in May.
On July 29, the Prosecution accused the violent cartel of ambushing Vice Admiral Carlos Miguel Salazar Ramonet, one of the highest ranked military officers, killed in the fight against drug trafficking in Mexico, whose funeral included the presence of President Peña Nieto on that same afternoon.
The three detainees admitted they “belonged to a criminal organization known as ‘Los Caballeros Templarios’,” Mexican Prosecutor General Jesús Murillo Karam told the press in Mexico City.
On July 28, armed men aboard two pick-up trucks ambushed and shot the Navy vehicle where Salazar Ramonet, who died immediately, was with his assistant, 2nd Petty Officer Ricardo Francisco Hernández Mercado. The driver and Salazar’s wife were also injured in the attack, both suffered serious injuries but are “out of danger,” the government reported.
The attack occurred on a rural state road near Churintzio municipality, northeast of Michoacán, after Salazar’s vehicle was forced to change its initial route through a highway due to a blockade made by protesters.
Salazar Ramonet, commander of the 8th Naval Zone based in Puerto Vallarta (Jalisco, west), was returning to the facility after spending the weekend with his family, and he was not in uniform at the moment of the attack, Murillo Karam said.
The assassination of the vice admiral adds to the killing of four federal police officers murdered last week in a bloody confrontation against Los Caballeros Templarios, of whom 20 hit men were killed, and to the killing of a police commander in the port municipality of Lázaro Cárdenas, whose corpse was found on July 29.