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Mexico Arrests Violent Gang Leader

Members of the National Guard are seen at a military check point after Mexican security forces captured Jose Antonio Yepez known as "El Marro" (The Mallet) in Santa Cruz de Juventino Rosas, Aug. 2, 2020.

Mexican police and armed forces arrested the leader of the violent Santa Rosa de Lima gang who have terrorized the north-central region of the country.

Authorities in the state of Guanajuato announced the arrest of José Antonio Yépez Ortiz, widely known by his Spanish nickname "El Marro," which means "The Sledgehammer."

The Santa Rosa de Lima gang and the Jalisco cartel have been engaged in a bloody turf battle for years in the industrial hub of Guanajuato, home to many foreign auto plants and parts suppliers, turning it into the most violent state in Mexico.

2,293 people have been murdered in the first half of this year alone in the Guanajuato state.

Some observers say the Santa Rosa gang, which is not a drag cartel but a powerful violent group, is responsible for killing 27 men during an attack in July on a drug rehabilitation center in the city of Irapuato.

However, Mexico's top civilian security official, Alfonso Durazo, said El Marro would be charged with organized crime and fuel theft, but not murder.

The Santa Rosa de Lima gang is accused of stealing fuel from government pipelines and refineries and robbing freight from trains in north-central Guanajuato state.