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Mexican Cartel Vows to Protect Pope

A drug gang hangs banners promising a "truce for peace" during Pope Benedict's upcoming Mexico visit. 

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"We are not murderers, welcome to the
Pope" proclaims one banner. Photo via

By May Wilkerson

03/19/12

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The Pope Benedict XVI will—possibly—have one less thing to worry about when he visits Mexico next weekend. Banners attributed to "The Knights Templar," one of the country's notorious drug cartels, have been hung out in the Mexican state of Guanajuato, promising no violence during His Holiness's stay. According to an anonymous official, the banners were found hanging from bridges on Saturday, proclaiming  “a sort of truce for peace...during the pope’s visit.” One Mexican newspaper quotes another banner: "The Knights Templar disavow any military action, we are not murderers, welcome to the Pope.” The gang, which claims a pseudo-religious creed, also put out banners in February warning rivals not to create trouble during the Pope's stay. The Knights Templar gang originated in neighboring Michoacan state, after a split from the now-waning La Familia cartel. Drug violence has flared up in the area in recent months; Mexican authorities discovered 10 severed heads outside a slaughterhouse on Sunday.

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