The Los Caballeros Templarios drug cartel is paying 325 million pesos (nearly $25 million) in bribes annually to different officials in the western Mexican state of Michoacan, media reports said.
The cartel has a monthly “narcopayroll” of about 27 million pesos (some $2 million) in Michoacan, where the criminal organization has extensive operations, the Milenio newspaper said, citing an intelligence report.
The Caballeros Templarios spend 65 million pesos ($5 million) annually, or about 5.4 million pesos ($415,385) monthly, in the other states where it has a more limited presence, the daily said.
In just one important city in Michoacan, a Federal Police commander gets up to 350,000 pesos ($26,923) monthly, while an official in the prosecutor’s office receives 250,000 pesos ($19,230) monthly and a state police commander gets up to 240,000 pesos ($18,460) monthly, Milenio said.
Municipal police officers and local government officials are paid smaller sums monthly, the newspaper said.
Journalists are also on the cartel’s payroll, with a print reporter getting 40,000 pesos ($3,075) monthly, while a radio reporter and a television executive each receive 25,000 pesos ($1,923) per month, Milenio said.
A general who was not posted in Michoacan got 2 million pesos (about $154,000) monthly, the newspaper said.
Grupo Milenio’s reporting is based on an intelligence report that journalists were given access to for a few hours.
Michoacan is one of the states where the federal government is focusing its security operations because of the strong presence of drug traffickers.
Los Caballeros Templarios, which was founded in March 2011 by former members of the La Familia Michoacana cartel, deals in both synthetic drugs and natural drugs.
The gang commits murders, stages kidnappings and runs extortion rackets that target business owners and transport companies, affecting everyday life.
Michoacan’s forests and mountains are used by drug traffickers to grow marijuana and produce synthetic drugs.
Los Caballeros Templarios operates in Michoacan, Guanajuato, Guerrero, Mexico state, Colima, Chiapas, Tabasco, Morelos, Baja California and Tamaulipas.