Citizens of this municipality, you are notified that from this day forward los Caballeros Templarios are present in Jose Azueta (Zihuatanejo). Our work here is against any and all kidnappers and extortionists.
Establishing the people's order and tranquility. "Thank you"
Sincerely, Caballeros Templarios
We do not kill innocents, only those that hurt the people will die
With the familiar vigilante message reminiscent of previous banners hung in Michoacan, los Caballeros Templarios (CT) announced their entry this past Wednesday into Guerrero's Costa Grande tourist zone of Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo.
In all, three banners were hung from pedestrian overpasses over thoroughfares in the city of Zihuatanejo.
In the early morning hours of Sunday the CT followed up on their pledge with
the murder and public display of seven men that banners left at the scene identified as criminals preying on the public.
The men, discovered at a bus stop on the highway connecting Zihuatanejo to the beach resort if Ixtapa, died of multiple gunshot wounds and were all tied together by their legs.
The Costa Grande is the Pacific coast region that extends from the border of Michoacan to the outskirts of Acapulco. This area of Guerrero with a history of violence has recently descended into a state of extreme lawlessness with shootouts, murders, kidnappings and robberies, especially in the areas around the municipalities of Petatlan and Tecpan de Galeana.
The criminals may be remnants of Beltran Leyva cells, known as "pelones", once controlled by Édgar Valdez Villarreal "La Barbie", and diehard Familia Michoacana members.
There are rumors that the fight by the CT for the Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo plaza is the first step in a bid to takeover organized crime and drug trafficking in the Costa Grande and Acapulco.
Another view is that this is the work of a paramilitary death squad, financed by drug cartels and unnamed groups within government and the business community.
According ta a Sedena spokesperson, the battle for the Costa Grande plaza began in March 2011 with banners hung in Zihuatanejo signed by La Familia Michoacana accusing El Mudo of kidnapping, extortion and murders. A string of violent clashes engulfed the region and El Mudo was forced to leave in July after several cells under his command defected.
El Mudo was reportedly in Cancun attempting to reorganize his cells when he was detained.
After El Mudo fled, the remainig criminal organization turned on the population with a vengeance, committing even more brutal extortion, kidnapping and robbery.
This cycle of worsening violence and insecurity has yet to be broken.