Who is Nazario Moreno? 5 Things to Know About Knights Templar Leader 'El Mas Loco'

Nazario Moreno González -- "El Pastor"
"The Pastor" was known by his peers for his marked religiosity. PGR

Nazario Moreno Gonzalez, known as 'El Chayo' or 'El Mas Loco' was recently killed by Mexican government forces in Michoacan. He was one of the biggest drug cartel leaders in the country, leading La Familia Michoacana and allegedly the Knights Templar Cartel. Despite apparently being killed in 2010, Moreno has reportedly still been a key player in Michoacan's drug war. Although the body has yet to be fully identified, here are 5 things to know about this fabled cartel leader.

1. He Was Deeply Religious. "El Chayo" means 'the rosary,' and it is an apt nickname for Moreno given his religious fervor. Although he was raised Catholic, Moreno González became a Jehovah's Witness during his short period in the United States. He was supposedly a deeply religious man: he required his men to carry a "spiritual manual" or "bible" that he wrote himself. He supposedly prohibited his men from consuming drugs and alcohol and discouraged violence against women. Moreno González prohibited his men from consuming alcohol or drugs, and stated that he would severely punish those who mistreated women. 

2. He Was Head of the Family.  Moreno was head of La Familia Michoacana, a powerful cartel which emerged in the 1990s. It began as a paramilitary arm of the Gulf Cartel, however, in 2006 they split and became their own independent cartel. They had a strong rivalry with both Loz Zetas and the Beltrán-Levya Cartels, however, they formed alliances with the Sinaloa Cartel. In 2010, La Familia split again with The Knights Templar formed by several of its key members. 

3. He Came Back from the Dead. Moreno Gonzalez was reportedly killed in 2010 after a stand-off with Mexican police in Michoacan. However, the body was never properly identified. In 2011 Mario Buenrostro Quiroz was arrested and told authorities taht Moreno Gonzalez was still alive. He apparently made a public appearance in Morelia in 2012 after his son was killed in a motorcycle accident. Hopefully this time he will actually stay dead. 

4. He Was A Cartel Diplomat. As leader of La Familia Michoacana, Moreno González was in charge of forging alliances with other cartels. Moreno apparently met with a number of other important drug lords including Fernando Sanchez Arellano of the Tijuana Cartel, Juan José Esparragoza Moreno of the Sinaloa Cartel; and Ezequiel Cárdenas Guillén of the Gulf Cartel. It was these alliances that allowed La Familia to move drugs freely through Mexico and into the United States. 

5. He was friends with El Chapo. In 2008, Moreno González sent armed men to help Joaquín 'El Chapo' Guzmán to fight off rival cartels. In return he gained access to the corridors in Sinaloa and Sonora.

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Oscar Lopez is a Brooklyn-based writer. Originally from Mexico, Oscar moved with his family to Australia in 2000. Graduating from the University of Melbourne in 2011 with a BA (Honors) Oscar was awarded the Keith Macartney Scholarship for the Arts, the Louise Homfrey Award and the Hannah Barry Memorial Award. As well as reporting for Latin Times, Oscar's writng has been featured in Newsweek, New York Magazine (nymag.com) and Musee Magazine.