Servando Gómez Martínez (born February 6, 1966),[2] commonly referred to by his alias La Tuta (The Teacher) for once being a teacher, is a Mexican drug lord and former leader of the Knights Templar Cartel, a criminal organization based in the state of Michoacán.[3][4][5] He is a former leader and founder member of La Familia Michoacana drug cartel, the split-off group of the Knights Templar.[6][7] On February 27, 2015, he was arrested by Mexican security forces in Morelia, Michoacán.[8]


Gómez Martínez served as the operational chief and spokesperson for the now extinct La Familia drug cartel, which sometimes was described as quasi-religious, since its former leader, Nazario Moreno González, referred to their assassinations and beheadings as "divine justice."[9]

Gómez Martínez has been indicted in the US with conspiring to import and distribute cocaine and methamphetamine into the United States from Mexico.[10] According to the Gomez Martinez indictment, he was, among other things, responsible for ensuring that La Familia's drug trafficking activities were not impeded by law enforcement, and also for acquiring weapons for use by the cartel.

The Indictment alleges that, on July 17, 2009, a few days after the bodies of twelve murdered Mexican federal law enforcement officers were discovered following the arrest of a cartel leader, Alberto Espinoza Barron,[11] Gómez Martínez made a recorded statement to a local television station in Michoacan, in which he publicly acknowledged that he was a member of La Familia Cartel, and, among other things, stated that the cartel was in a battle against the Mexican federal police and prosecutors. He also offered the Mexican federal security forces a truce in exchange of freedom to continue their illegal drug trade. President Felipe Calderón's government refused to strike a deal with the cartel and ignored their calls for dialogue.[12][13]

Kingpin Act sanction

On 25 February 2010, the United States Department of the Treasury sanctioned Gómez Martínez under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (sometimes referred to simply as the "Kingpin Act"), for his involvement in drug trafficking along with twenty-one other international criminals and ten foreign entities.[14] The act prohibited U.S. citizens and companies from doing any kind of business activity with him, and virtually froze all his assets in the U.S.[15]

Co-founder of the Knights Templar Cartel

Servando Gómez Martínez's partners in La Familia Cartel were Nazario Moreno González, José de Jesús Méndez Vargas, Enrique Plancarte Solís and Dionicio Loya Plancarte, who each have had a bounty of $2 million for their capture.[16]

After La Familia leader Nazario Moreno González was falsely claimed to have been shot dead by security forces (he was actually not killed until 2014),[3] Méndez-Vargas took control of La Familia.[4] Soon afterwards, Martínez and Plancarte broke with Méndez-Vargas and formed the Knights Templar Cartel.[3] This splinter group soon developed a rivalry with La Familia.[3] On June 21, 2011, Méndez-Vargas was captured by Mexican security forces.[17] On August 7, 2011, the Mexican Attorney General reported that the La Familia Cartel was disbanded.[18]

Video appearances

Gómez Martínez appeared on a rare video in the Blog del Narco on 22 August 2012 explaining the "peaceful credentials" of the Knights Templar Cartel and asking the leaders of Mexico's drug trafficking organizations to join forces and put down Miguel Treviño Morales (Z-40), one of the leaders of Los Zetas.[19] The footage begins with a close-up of a quote and poster attributed to Che Guevara; the camera then pans out to reveal a Mexican flag in the background, an idol of a knight, and a photo of Fidel Castro. With the scene set, Gómez Martínez appears directly in front of the camera, and addresses an 11-minute video to the Mexican people, President Felipe Calderón, and the rest of the Mexican drug cartels.[20] He insisted that his organization is a "necessary evil," and insists that his organization is "not a cartel, nor any kind of organized criminal group. [They] are a brotherhood, founded by a set of statutes and codes."[20] He then goes on to explain that the Knights Templar's "only function is to help the people, preserve [the] state ... and keep [Mexico] free of people causing terror ... [and] live in peace." Gómez Martínez then asks other cartels to create a "common front" against Los Zetas and asks Calderón to take on his action.[20]

In 2014 he gave an interview to Channel4 News in which he explained that he realized that he was a criminal, and that he knew that he would eventually pay for his crimes. But he maintained that he would not give himself up, but rather fight to the death. He also defended his decisions to do business with Chinese smugglers of iron ore whom he claimed had a right to expand their markets.[21]


His son Luis Alfredo Aguilera Esquivel was arrested by Mexican authorities on 3 March 2014 in Los Reyes, Michoacán. According to federal reports, he carried out kidnappings and extorted agricultural workers in Michoacán, the most recent one on orders from his father.[22] His other son Huber Gómez Patiño was arrested by the Mexican Federal Police in Arteaga, Michoacán on 21 June 2014.[23] His brother Aquiles Gómez Martínez was reportedly found dead in Lázaro Cárdenas, Michoacán with a gunshot wound on 19 September 2014.[24] His cousin José Martínez Mendoza was arrested by the Federal Police in Uruapan, Michoacán on 8 November 2014.[25] His alleged uncle Gerardo Martínez Legorreta was arrested by Michoacán security forces on 8 December 2014 in Arteaga.[26]


On February 27, 2015, at 3 am, Servando Gómez Martínez was captured. He was apprehended by an elite squadron of Mexican Federal Police in Morelia, Michoacán, in an operation where no shots were fired.[27] He was then transferred to the SEIDO installations, Mexico's organized crime investigatory agency, in Mexico City for his legal presentation.[28][29] At the time of his arrest, Gómez Martínez was one of Mexico's most-wanted drug lords.[30] That same night, he was transferred to the Federal Social Readaptation Center No. 1, a maximum-security prison in Almoloya de Juárez, State of Mexico.[31] On 11 March, he was officially charged by a federal court in Toluca, State of Mexico for organized crime, kidnapping, and drug trafficking offenses.[32]

See also


  1. ^ a b "La Tuta" cobra como maestro 8 December 2010. El Universal. Mexico City, Mexico. Retrieved 7 March 2012.
  2. ^ SSP difunde foto actual de "La Tuta" El Universal. August 7, 2009.
  3. ^ a b c d "Mexico police raid 'La Familia drug cartel', killing 11". BBC News. May 28, 2011. Retrieved 2011-05-30. 
  4. ^ a b "Prevén arrecie lucha por lugar del 'Chayo' en Michoacán". Reforma (in Spanish). Terra. May 29, 2011. Retrieved 2011-05-29. 
  5. ^ Heffernan-Tabor, Kelly (May 29, 2011). "Mexican Authorities Arrest 46 Suspected Drug Gang Members". WFMY News 2. Retrieved 2011-05-30. 
  6. ^ La Familia Cartel: Implications for US Mexican Security, by, Grayson, George W., Strategic Studies Institute (SSI), US Army War College, December, 2010, pg. 24
  7. ^ A Mexican Cartel's Swift and Grisly Climb
  8. ^ Servando La Tuta Gomez Mexicos Most Wanted Drug Lord Captured - NBC News
  9. ^ Gibbs, Stephen (October 22, 2009). "'Family values' of Mexico drug gang". BBC News. Retrieved 2009-10-23. 
  10. ^ "United States Charges Operational Chief And Associates Of Violent Mexican Drug Cartel" (PDF). US Department of Justice. October 22, 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-28.  first1= missing last1= in Authors list (help)
  11. ^ "Mexico arrests drug leader; military's role in drug war debated". CNN News. December 31, 2008. Retrieved 2009-12-28.  first1= missing last1= in Authors list (help)
  12. ^ Mexican gang leader offers drug war truce
  13. ^ Cartel declares war on Mexican state
  14. ^ "DESIGNATIONS PURSUANT TO THE FOREIGN NARCOTICS KINGPIN DESIGNATION ACT" (PDF). United States Department of the Treasury. 15 May 2014. p. 10. Archived (PDF) from the original on 28 May 2014. Retrieved 28 May 2014. 
  15. ^ "An overview of the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act" (PDF). United States Department of the Treasury. 2009. p. 1. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 May 2014. Retrieved 28 May 2014. 
  16. ^ "Mexico offers $2 million for top drug lords". El Paso Times. March 23, 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-28. 
  17. ^ Rene Hernandez; Catherine E. Shoichet (21 June 2011). "Top cartel leader captured". CNN News. Retrieved 2011-09-20. 
  18. ^ Vega, Aurora (7 August 2011). "Surgen cuatro grupos del narco en 2011; El Chapo es el capo más poderoso". Excelsior (in Spanish). Retrieved 2011-09-20. 
  19. ^ "Video: Comunicado de Servando Gómez La Tuta de Los Caballeros Templarios". Blog del Narco (in Spanish). 22 August 2012. Archived from the original on 23 August 2012. Retrieved 23 August 2012. 
  20. ^ a b c Fox, Edward (23 August 2012). "Knights Templar Leader Makes Rare Video Appearance". InSight Crime. Archived from the original on 23 August 2012. Retrieved 23 August 2012. 
  21. ^ [1]
  22. ^ "Hijo de la Tuta secuestraba y extorsionaba a agricultores". Milenio (in Spanish). Notimex. 6 March 2014. Archived from the original on 6 March 2014. Retrieved 6 March 2014. 
  23. ^ "Detienen a Huber Gómez Patino" (in Spanish). El Economista. 21 June 2014. Archived from the original on 23 June 2014. Retrieved 23 June 2014. 
  24. ^ "Hallan muerto a presunto hermano de 'La Tuta'" (in Spanish). Mexico City: Milenio. 19 September 2014. Archived from the original on 19 September 2014. Retrieved 19 September 2014. 
  25. ^ "Detiene PF en Uruapan a primo de La Tuta" (in Spanish). El Universal (Mexico City). 8 November 2014. Retrieved 9 November 2014. 
  26. ^ "Detienen a presunto tío de 'La Tuta' en Michoacán" (in Spanish). Milenio. 8 December 2014. Archived from the original on 8 December 2014. Retrieved 8 December 2014. 
  27. ^ Alzaga, Ignacio (27 February 2015). "PF captura a "La Tuta"" (in Spanish). Milenio. Retrieved 27 February 2015. 
  28. ^ "Detienen a 'La Tuta' en Morelia" (in Spanish). Proceso. Retrieved 27 February 2015. 
  29. ^ "Mexico captures most wanted drug kingpin 'La Tuta'". Al Jazeera. 27 February 2015. Retrieved 27 February 2015. 
  30. ^ "Knights Templar cartel leader 'La Tuta' captured in Mexico". Fox News. The Associated Press. 27 February 2015. Retrieved 27 February 2015. 
  31. ^ García, Inés (28 February 2015). "Presentan y trasladan a "La Tuta" al penal de El Altiplano" (in Spanish). Zeta. Retrieved 28 February 2015. 
  32. ^ "Dictan otro auto de formal prisión a 'La Tuta'" (in Spanish). El Informador (Mexico). 11 March 2015. Retrieved 12 March 2015. 

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