The governor of Guanajuato has rebuked the federal government for freeing two suspected members of the Santa Rosa de Lima Cartel who were arrested during a security operation last week.
“Here we are dealing heavy blows [to organized crime] only for [the alleged criminals] to be released,” Diego Sinhue Rodríguez Vallejo said, referring to Angélica N. and Javier N., sister-in-law and brother-in-law of suspected cartel leader José Antonio “El Marro” Yépez Ortiz.
Angélica N., allegedly a financial operator for the cartel, and her husband, a Federal Police officer, were arrested by state police last Tuesday.
The governor said yesterday that the state government asked the federal attorney general’s office (FGR) to keep the pair in custody as a case was being built against them. But both were freed Friday due to a lack of evidence, officials told the newspaper Milenio.
Rodríguez said he expressed his disappointment over the release to federal Security Secretary Alfonso Durazo.
“I spoke to Secretary Durazo and I let him know the state’s annoyance about this release because we’re working hard here to restore peace and tranquility by arresting targets, and for them to be released so easily doesn’t seem fair to us,” he said.
State and Federal Police and the military started an operation on Monday last week aimed at capturing Yépez, who is believed to be the head of the Santa Rosa Cartel, a gang of fuel thieves based in the municipality of Villagrán.
On the second day of the operation, Rodríguez said that Angélica N. and her husband were arrested at a police blockade as they attempted to flee the town of Santa Rosa de Lima.
The pair were turned over to federal authorities because they were accused of federal crimes, the governor explained.
Five other people were arrested during the operation and two luxury homes were seized but “El Marro” Yépez remains at large.
The Santa Rosa de Lima Cartel is believed to be behind much of the violence that made Guanajuato the most violent state in Mexico last year.
Its members also allegedly perpetrated an attack on a nightclub in Salamanca last week that left 15 people dead.
Rodríguez said yesterday that 14 victims had been identified as members of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG), which since 2017 has been engaged in a bitter turf war in Guanajuato with the Santa Rosa Cartel.
In light of the violent incident in Salamanca, the Guanajuato governor yesterday asked Security Secretary Durazo to send an additional 1,000 federal security personnel to the municipality.
Rodríguez also called on Salamanca Mayor Beatriz Hernández to sign the mando único, or single command, policing agreement in order to allow state police officers to carry out patrols in the city, which is home to a Pemex oil refinery.
The governor threatened to withhold 14 million pesos (US $725,000) in security funding should she not agree to the presence of the state police.
Meanwhile, the situation in Santa Rosa de Lima is showing signs of calming down after last week’s operation.
Many residents were allegedly paid to set up blockades, which in many cases were made by setting cars on fire.
But now they are once again going about their day to day lives despite the ongoing presence of state and federal security forces and the inspection of all vehicles that enter and leave the town. Schools reopened Monday.
Residents, however, remain tight-lipped about the events of last week, according to a report published yesterday by Milenio, which also said that locals deny knowing El Marro or the location of the mansion in which he allegedly lived.