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Mexico details capture of capo who 'never slept two nights in the same place'

Members of the federal forces flank Jose Antonio Yepez, known as "el Marro" (The Mallet), boss of the Santa Rosa de Lima cartel, after being captured early Sunday in the Franco Tavera village, in Guanajuato, Mexico August 2, 2020. Picture taken August 2, 2020. Guanajuato Attorney General's Office/Handout via REUTERS

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - After receiving a tip that one of Mexico’s top crime bosses never slept at the same place for two nights in a row, Mexican authorities cased four homes for 72 hours before launching a raid that led to the arrest of the capo known as “El Marro” and several of his associates, officials said on Tuesday.

The capture on Sunday of alleged drug trafficker and fuel thief Jose Antonio Yepez, alias “El Marro,” or “The Mallet,” has removed one of the two bosses battling for control of Guanajuato state, an industrial powerhouse clouded by bloody gang wars.

Mexican Defense Secretary Luis Cresencio Sandoval on Tuesday said authorities were keeping an eye on four possible addresses when they got word that Yepez arrived at one of the homes in Guanajuato.

“Considering the information that ‘El Marro’ didn’t sleep two nights in the same place, also the presence of [a black truck and food delivery] to that address that confirmed the tip we had,” leading authorities to obtain search warrants, Sandoval said.

A top target for the government, Yepez, boss of the Guanajuato-based Santa Rosa de Lima Cartel has been engaged in a struggle for supremacy in the state with the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG), one of Mexico’s most powerful and violent gangs.

To capture Yepez, the government of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, sent in two fully-manned Cougar helicopters, unmanned drones and hundreds of soldiers.

Another 1,000 state security forces were deployed to “maintain the safety of citizens in those municipalities,” Sandoval said at Lopez Obrador’s daily press conference.

Authorities arrested six men and three women in the raids, including Yepez, and seized high and low caliber weapons, a grenade launcher, around $6,600 in cash and rescued a 52-year-old kidnapped woman.

Lopez Obrador likely wanted to avoid the embarrassment his administration faced last October in western Sinaloa state after the brief arrest and then release of one of the sons of notorious drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman as cartel gunmen overwhelmed security forces.

Reporting by Anthony Esposito and Raul Fernandez Cortes; Editing by Aurora Ellis

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