Mexican Cartel To Stop Violence For Pope Benedict Visit

In a country where drug related deaths are more than 47,000 in the last 5 years, it would be wise not to believe a word coming from the cartels

MEXICO CITY — The Knights Templars drugs cartel is calling a short truce -- but only to welcome Pope Benedict XVI to Mexico, an official said Sunday.

"They did put up signs announcing this," a Guanajuato state government source told AFP privately.

"The Knights Templars are holding off on all violent action, we are not killers, welcome to the pope," the official said paraphrasing one of the signs put up in the town of Irapuato, Guanajuato state.

The signs were seen in at least seven towns statewide.

The pope arrives March 23 in Leon, in the neighboring state of Michoacan, where the Knights Templars were founded.

President Felipe Calderon has launched a military crackdown against the cartels battling it out for control of the lucrative drug trade, in which some 50,000 Mexicans have lost their lives since 2006.