Mexican police and military forces on Sunday arrested the leader of the Santa Rosa de Lima gang who spread violence through north-central Mexico and fought a years-long bloody turf battle with the Jalisco cartel, AP reported.
The armed forces and officials in the state of Guanajuato said they had captured José Antonio Yépez Ortiz, better known by his nickname “El Marro,” which means “The Sledgehammer.”
Yépez Ortiz was unusual among gang leaders because he posted videos with emotional calls to his followers.
But Mexico’s top civilian security official, Alfonso Durazo, said Yépez Ortiz would be charged with organized crime and fuel theft.
Yépez Ortiz had been the subject of massive manhunts for years, and was caught along with five other suspects allegedly holding a kidnapped businesswoman. He was among Mexico’s most wanted suspects.
His Santa Rosa gang was not a drug cartel, but rather a powerful, violent gang that stole fuel from government pipelines and refineries and robbing freight from trains.
The Santa Rosa gang was also unusual in that it tried to build a support network among local residents by allowing them to take a minor share in the spoils of the robberies. But when authorities stepped up security around the trains and pipelines over the last two years, the gang turned to extortion and kidnapping.