Seven hundred community police members were involved in a three-day confrontation in Guerrero that culminated in the arrest of the suspected leader of the Los Rojos crime gang.
Santiago “El Carrete” Mazari Hernández, identified as one of the principal instigators of violence in both Guerrero and Morelos, was detained in the municipality of Leonardo Bravo last Thursday.
Under siege from community police prior to his arrest, Mazari found refuge in a home in the community of Corral de Piedra.
According to a report in the newspaper El Universal, the gang leader entered a house and offered its inhabitants cash in exchange for providing him with a place to hide. They were too afraid to refuse.
Mazari’s whereabouts, however, didn’t remain secret for long.
Members of the United Front of Guerrero Community Police (FUPCEG) laid siege to Corral de Piedra and for three days engaged in a confrontation with other Los Rojos gangsters in the town.
Juan Castillo Gómez, a gang member known as “El Teniente,” and two other men were killed during one clash near an outdoor basketball court.
“Three people died here,” a resident told the newspaper Milenio.
“The shootout went for 10 hours,” another resident said. “We had to grab the children so they wouldn’t go out.”
Milenio reported that spent bullet casings are littered around Corral de Piedra and that booby traps with active grenades were set and still remain in the town.
Holed up in the local home and with the community police closing in, Mazari decided to make a run for it.
Noticing that the householder owned a dump truck, the capo asked for – or more likely demanded – the keys. The homeowner complied.
Mazari and another gang member identified as Marco “N” – believed to be Los Rojos principal criminal operator – left the home and got into the truck. The former drove while the latter hid in the open bed box.
Trying to leave Corral de Piedra, Mazari came to a community police roadblock where he was ordered to get out of the truck. The officers also located Marco “N.”
El Universal reported that after establishing their identities, community police contacted Guerrero state police.
Federal Police, the army and the navy also responded to the report of the men’s capture and were ultimately responsible for taking them into custody. Mazari was subsequently flown to Mexico City in a navy helicopter.
Community police spokesman Salvador Alanís Trujillo said that with the capture of Mazari and the death of Gómez, the Los Rojos gang is practically “extinct” and that police will now turn their attention to combating the Cartel del Sur.
“. . . We’re going to put an end to the Cartel del Sur, we’re going to fight against them like we did with El Tequilero [the leader of the Tequileros gang] and El Carrete,” he said.
“We’re going after them and hopefully the authorities will also be willing to collaborate so that the work is easier and so there is not too much harm to third parties. The next challenge . . . is to exterminate the Cartel del Sur . . . Isaac Navarrete Celis, the leader, is our main target now.”