A security operation in Celaya, Guanajuato, that led to the arrest of the mother, sister and cousin of Santa Rosa de Lima Cartel leader José Antonio “El Marro” Yépez was a farce, says federal Attorney General Alejandro Gertz Manero.
During a radio interview on Tuesday, Gertz also said that Guanajuato Attorney General Carlos Zamarripa will be investigated for his role in the June 20 operation during which 26 people with alleged links to the Santa Rosa fuel theft, extortion and drug trafficking gang were taken into custody.
Gertz told journalist Joaquín López-Dóriga that Guanajuato police did not have a warrant to search the address where the suspects – all of whom have since been released – were supposedly arrested. Judges had only issued a warrant to conduct a search of a stolen vehicle, he said.
He also said that one of those arrested was detained on weapons charges but the person only had a gas gun, “not a firearm.”
He added that police had only found a small quantity of drugs in the possession of those detained.
The attorney general said that once Guanajuato authorities realized that they had carried out an operation that “had nothing to do with what their own judges had authorized,” they tried to have federal authorities take charge of the case.
“The day after they’d done all this, … they go to the federal Attorney General’s Office [FGR] … and say ‘you take over,’” Gertz said.
However, the FGR cannot assume responsibility for an operation which it didn’t carry out and with which “it doesn’t agree,” he said.
Gertz also said that the FGR couldn’t take charge of the case because the crimes of which those detained were accused – small scale drug dealing and possession of “a gun that isn’t a gun” – are not federal offenses.
He said that Guanajuato authorities made an application for a court ruling for federal authorities to take over the case but a judge rejected their request.
“The local judge told them exactly the same thing as our [Guanajuato] delegate told them. ‘No – you were given authorization to carry out a certain [operation] and you went and carried out a different one,’” Gertz said.
The attorney general also said that Guanajuato authorities provided incorrect details about how the arrests occurred, a point a judge accepted when ordering the release of Yépez’s mother, sister and cousin.
The anomalies in the operation made it “ridiculous to say the least,” Gertz said, describing it as a montaje – a stunt, setup or farce.
He also said that Guanajuato authorities’ claim that the FGR was responsible for the release of El Marro’s family members – the criminal leader’s father and wife, among other relatives have also been set free – was indicative of a “lack of respect” for federal officials.
Gertz said that Zamarripa, the Guanajuato attorney general, will be investigated in connection with the anomalies in the operation and the accusations leveled at federal authorities.
“Guanajuato has been a veritable hellhole of violence for five years and this attorney general has been there for 11 years. We’re going to initiate proceedings … to shed light on all his actions to see if there are any [grounds for] legal complaint,” he said.
Meanwhile, the newspaper Milenio reported that three police officers in Silao, Guanajuato, followed orders from the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) – the Santa Rosa de Lima Cartel’s arch-enemy – to set up a roadblock to stop a convoy of vehicles in which Yépez’s mother was believed to be traveling after her release from prison on Sunday.
However, El Marro said in a video posted to social media that his mother had changed cars and managed to pass freely through the police checkpoint.
Angry at their failure to locate Yépez’s mother, CJNG operatives pursued a vehicle in which the woman’s lawyers were traveling and shot and killed one of them.
Three police officers were subsequently murdered in Silao in the early hours of Monday morning. State authorities confirmed that the officers slain were those that set up the roadblock on the orders of the CJNG.
In light of the events, Silao Mayor Antonio Trejo dismissed the local police chief while the municipal force is investigated for alleged links to the CJNG, one of Mexico’s most powerful and violent criminal organizations.
Source: Milenio (sp)