Three municipal police officers were shot and killed in Silao, Guanajuato, early Monday just hours after police allegedly attempted to detain the mother of Santa Rosa de Lima Cartel leader José Antonio “El Marro” Yépez following her release from prison.
The officers were gunned down in the La Joya neighborhood at about 1:20 a.m. while responding to a report of a shootout. A fourth officer survived the attack but was wounded and is in serious condition.
The attack occurred just two weeks after three other Silao police officers were murdered.
In a video posted to social media on Monday, Yépez claimed responsibility for the most recent police murders.
He accused the Silao municipal police of following orders from the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) – the Santa Rosa gang’s arch-enemy – to stop the vehicle in which his mother was traveling with lawyers after a judge ordered her release from prison due to a lack of evidence on charges of involvement with her son’s criminal organization.
However, Yépez said that his mother had changed cars and managed to pass freely through a police checkpoint.
El Marro, a fuel theft “king” and one of Mexico’s most wanted men, accused the officers of being “assholes” for following the orders of the CJNG, which is engaged in a vicious turf war in Guanajuato with the Santa Rosa de Lima Cartel.
He said that other police who cooperate with the Jalisco-based cartel will meet the same fate as the officers slain Monday.
Yépez ordered police to be “neutral” in the dispute between his criminal organization and that led by Nemesio “El Mencho” Oseguera Cervantes and “not get in the way of” his cartel’s activities. He also accused the Silao police of killing one of his lawyers.
In the same expletive-laden video, Yépez denied he was responsible for a failed bomb attack on the Pemex refinery in Salamanca, Guanajuato, last week.
“If I had something to do with the [bomb] scare at the refinery, I’d let you know with my own voice; I don’t have to make calls or hang [narco] signs,” he said.
A federal and state police operation has been attempting to capture El Marro for more than a year but the criminal leader has remained elusive even as members of his cartel – and family – were taken in to custody.
His wife, mother, father, sister, cousin and niece, among other relatives, have all been arrested only to be later set free.