The Knights Templar is no longer just a historic group shrouded in mystery. A violent Mexican drug cartel has been founded under the same name, and espouses its own code of conduct and chivalry.
The Knights Templar is an offshoot of La Familia and rival drug gang to the Zetas. They are involved in the drug trade and are particularly known for methamphetamines. Their violent history includes murder, extortion, and attacks on police.
They are now trying to cultivate populist support, using the Knights Templar as their guide. They have published a code of conduct that includes fighting injustice, protecting widows and orphans, and obedience to God. The punishment for breaking these codes is death to both the Knight and his family.
Authorities believe this is a public relations campaign intended to give the drug gang the appearance of a social movement. [photos]