It can hardly be coincidence that the federales finally moved against the Templarios mere days after the "Community Police" vigilante network declared war on the cartel and seized several pueblos that had been under the control of cartel-co-opted authorities. Mexico's government clearly fears losing control of Michoacán to the vigilante movement. The belated move against the Templarios comes as Mexican army troops are facing off with Community Police forces at many of the positions they seized when they launched their offensive days earlier.
Two days before the 38 were arrested, Community Police forces in the town of Antúnez seized four houses said to belong to Templar kingpins, and declared them as "confiscated." One was a luxury property -- complete with a jacuzzi, stables full of rare-breed horses, and wardrobes stocked with designer clothes -- belonging to Efraín Isak Rosales AKA "El Tucán," named as another top leader of the Templars and currently whereabouts unknown. Among items found at the property and displayed before reporters was much mystical and pseudo-religious regalia -- robes, idols and so forth -- said to belong to Nazario Moreno González AKA "El Chayo." One of Mexico's most-wanted drug lords, El Chayo had been named by authorities as a leader of La Familia Michoacana, but apparently flipped to the Templars when they beat out La Familia as the state's reigning crime machine following a bloody turf war last year. Both groups have posed as religious cults and used mystical imagery to impress their followers and intimidate their rivals.
The Community Police have clearly forced the Mexican feds into acting against the Knights Templar. Whether this will be sufficient to restore government rule in Michoacán remains to be seen.