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The second mansion to be seized in Santa Rosa de Lima. The second mansion to be seized in Santa Rosa de Lima.

Another mansion linked to oil theft cartel seized in Santa Rosa de Lima

Luxury vehicles seized, bank accounts frozen

Authorities have seized a second luxury home believed to be linked to the Santa Rosa de Lima Cartel.

Located in the center of Santa Rosa de Lima, Guanajuato, the mansion is similar to the home that was seized earlier this week and which allegedly belongs to José Antonio “El Marro” Yépez Ortiz, the suspected leader of the fuel theft gang.

Four luxury vehicles were found inside the property, which is currently under the guard of marines and officers from the Criminal Investigation Agency (AIC).

A local food stall owner told the newspaper El Universal that Santa Rosa de Lima residents believed that the house belonged to “a powerful man.”

The large home is protected by a high wall topped with broken glass, electric fencing and two security cameras.

The property’s large garden and paving are among the similarities with that believed to be owned by Yépez. The home is also painted in a similar shade of orange as the house seized on the outskirts of Santa Rosa de Lima.

Since early Monday morning, federal and state security forces have been carrying out an operation against the Santa Rosa Cartel, which is believed to be behind much of the violence that made Guanajuato Mexico’s most violent state last year.

At least seven people linked to the cartel have been arrested but Yépez remains at large. Federal Security Secretary Alfonso Durazo said yesterday that authorities know where he is and that he will be arrested soon.

He also said a large number of the organization’s bank accounts have been frozen.

Security analyst Alejandro Hope said in a column published in El Universal today that the capture of Yépez “would be a good blow for the new federal administration in its campaign against fuel theft.”

However, Hope pointed out that the efforts to capture “El Marro” appear to contradict President López Obrador’s assertion in January that the government didn’t intend to pursue cartel leaders.

The security analyst contended that the capture of a fuel theft capo would “probably” generate the same situation as that seen when drug lords have been arrested: succession disputes between gang members, a power vacuum that other criminal organizations seek to take advantage of and a short-term spike in the number of homicides.

But Hope wrote that López Obrador has “probably realized that there are good reasons to go after capos.”

One reason is “ethical: a person like Yépez deserves punishment” and another is “strategic: if criminals sense that by reaching a certain level of prominence they are immune from prosecution because their disappearance from the scene would generate destabilizing effects, everyone’s going to want to go beyond that threshold.”

That situation, he added, “could generate much more violence in the long term than that which would be prevented by not decapitating criminal gangs.”

Hope also said that “institutions tend to do what they know how to do,” pointing out that over the past decade, the military and the Federal Police have honed their capacity to cut off the heads of criminal organizations.

In the context of high rates of violence and insecurity, the government “is probably also starting to need quick victories,” he added.

“The capture of a person like El Marro falls into that category.”

Source: El Universal (sp) 

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