Mexican Drug War

Major Cartel Boss Captured After Shootout in Guanajuato, Mexico

Major Cartel Boss Captured After Shootout in Guanajuato, Mexico

Jose Antonio Yepez Ortiz

Jose Antonio Yepez Ortiz

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SEDENA Press Release

Arrested: José Antonio Yépez Ortiz, alias “El Marro”

His lookouts alerted him, his escort confronted our elite soldiers but it was not enough, in 15 minutes El Marro was already detained.

At around 4:00 am on Sunday, “El Marro”, the alleged leader of the Santa Rosa de Lima Cartel, received the alert that an operation by elite government forces, both federal and state, was near and it looked like they were after him. His lookouts reported to him, his informants and vigilantes he has had deployed throughout the region of the state of Guanajuato, his stronghold for years.

It was too late: a government drone was flying over the ranch where he was hiding, in the municipality of Juventino Rosas, and detected that there were moving vehicles preparing to flee. It was not the first time that José Antonio Yépez Ortiz, alias “El Marro”, an alleged drug trafficker and Huachicolero – fuel thief – had to rush out of his hiding place to evade capture.

In the command center, where the authorities monitored the operation through the images provided by the drone, elite elements of the Guanajuato Attorney General’s Office and the Mexican Army were advised to speed up because the objective, El Marro, was fleeing.

When the Army commandos and the Guanajuato Prosecutor’s Office arrived, there were gunshots, according to preliminary reports from first-level sources. “El Marro” and the group of escorts accompanying him reportedly clashed briefly with the authorities. The operation, they assure me, lasted no more than 15 minutes and “El Marro” was arrested.

It was not the only surprise.

In the stables of his ranch, under the sawdust, in a secret room, the authorities found and released a businesswoman from Apaseo El Alto, who was living in Querétaro, who was kidnapped. This discovery was not immediate. It was reported that it happened perhaps an hour later, during an inspection of the property when it was already secured by federal and state forces.

According to the intelligence they had gathered, when the operation that ended with the capture of “El Marro” was planned, there were suspicions that he might be at one of two houses, so the authorities were prepared to enter both addresses. It was the ranch in Juventino Rosas that ended up hitting the mark.

Capturing Yépez Ortiz was the first police objective set by the newly elected government of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) when the power came, in December 2018.

“El Marro” built his empire by stealing fuel from the company Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex): $ 3 billion annually in pipeline milking of fuel. In addition, it had turned the state of Guanajuato, governed by the National Action Party, into one of the most critical pockets of violence in the entire country.

The matter had generated serious political tensions between AMLO and PAN governor Diego Sinhué, who now have something to brag about together: an operation carried out between their two elite bodies managed to arrest one of the alleged criminals not only more dangerous but perhaps one of the most wanted, along with the leader of the Jalisco Nueva Generación Cartel, Nemesio Oseguera “El Mencho”.

Authorities have already carried out at least five failed operations to capture El Mencho. In one of them, they even detained members of his family, but they had to free them in the end.

The fight against Huachicol fuel theft has been a central flag of this government. In his first month as president, AMLO announced the launch of an unprecedented operation to end this crime that bled the Mexican treasury. For weeks, Mexico suffered from gasoline and diesel shortages. Motorists had to wait hours – even days – in lines to get to gas stations across the country. No state suffered more than Guanajuato.

The federal government decided to close the pipelines that transport fuel in that area to prevent them from continuing to be milked.

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