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El Marro outside the property where he was arrested Sunday morning. El Marro outside the property where he was arrested Sunday morning.

Despite capture of Guanajuato crime boss, the war is not over, expert warns

There are 3 wars in total, and the Santa Rosa de Lima Cartel is not dead yet

The capture of Santa Rosa de Lima Cartel (CSRL) boss José Antonio “El Marro” Yépez Ortiz will not put an end to the violence in Guanajuato, warns a security expert.

David Saucedo Torres, a security analyst with a doctorate in national security, told the newspaper El Universal that the arrest of Yépez on Sunday does not mean that the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG), the Santa Rosa Cartel’s arch-rival in the Bajío region state, will immediately become the dominant criminal organization in Guanajuato, Mexico’s most violent state.

The turf war between the two criminal groups is “not over yet,” he said, asserting that El Marro’s capture has not left the CJNG as the undisputed “owner” of Guanajuato.

Saucedo added that the war between the CSLR and the CJNG is not the only dispute, explaining that there are in fact three parallel wars.

In addition to the high-profile clash between the CSLR and the CJNG in the municipalities of Salamanca, Celaya, Apaseo El Grande, Apaseo El Alto and Irapuato, there are two other ongoing turf wars, the analyst said, explaining that one is centered on the city of León and the other is playing out in the south of Guanajuato.

The war between El Marro, left, and El Mencho is not the only one in Guanajuato.
The war between El Marro, left, and El Mencho is not the only one in Guanajuato.

In León, Guanajuato’s largest city, the CJNG is involved in disputes with two local criminal organizations, Saucedo said. One is La Unión de León and the other is the New Plaza Cartel led by Erick Valencia, also known as El 85.

In the south of Guanajuato, the CJNG is engaged in a turf war with the Michoacán-based Los Viagras, Saucedo said.

He said the dispute between the CJNG, led by Mexico’s most wanted man, Nemesio “El Mencho” Oseguera Cervantes, and the CSRL has become more visible than the other conflicts because of the two organizations’ frequent social media messages. (The former issued a threat to El Marro in one recent video).

However, Saucedo noted that more homicides have occurred in León this year than the municipalities where the Jalisco and Santa Rosa cartels are fighting for control of the fuel theft, extortion and drug trafficking rackets.

“So far this year, the municipality of León has already exceeded 400 deaths,” he said, adding that Celaya has recorded some 350 homicides.

“In other words, there is more lethal violence in León,” Saucedo said, adding that the criminals operating in the city target each other whereas the CSRL also attacks the population in general in areas where it operates.

Apart from the CJNG’s ongoing disputes in León and the south of Guanajuato, another reason why violence is unlikely to decrease is that the arrest of Yépez will probably trigger internal conflicts within the CSRL.

Saucedo said that there is a possibility that members of the Santa Rosa gang will battle each other to win control of the organization.

The CJNG will seek to take advantage of the situation, he added, declaring that it will most probably launch an attack on the CSRL “in the coming days.”

Saucedo’s prediction that violence will remain an ongoing problem in Guanajuato is supported by homicide data for the 24 hours after his capture.

Authorities registered 16 homicides between Sunday morning and Monday morning, some of which are believed to have been committed by CSRL members because messages declaring that El Marro is still in control of Guanajuato were left at the crime scenes.

The 16 murders occurred in the municipalities of Celaya, Cortazar, Apaseo El Alto, Acámbaro, León, Valle de Santiago and Moroleón.

Source: El Universal (sp) 

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