MEXICO CITY — A drug gang unfurled banners in a Mexican city that Pope Benedict XVI is scheduled to visit next month, telling rival traffickers to keep out and keep the peace during the papal visit next month.
One of the banners was signed by The Knights Templar, a violent, pseudo-religious cartel from the neighboring state of Michoacan. The cloth banners with hand-painted messages were found and quickly removed on Tuesday, a few weeks after the local Roman Catholic archdiocese had issued a public plea to drug gangs not to mar the Pope's visit with violence.
"We just want to warn that we do not want more groups in the state of Guanajuato. Confrontations will be inevitable. You have been warned, New Generation, we want Guanajuato in Peace, so don't think about moving in and much less causing violence, precisely at this time when His Holiness Benedict XVI is coming," according to the sign. Municipal police sent a photo of the banner to The Associated Press.
"New Generation" refers to a rival gang from the neighboring state of Jalisco, which is believed to be allied with the powerful Sinaloa drug cartel. The two groups, along with the Zetas, have been locked in battles in all three states.