Mexican security forces seized the leader of a criminal gang that specializes in the theft of fuel from pipelines in central Guanajuato state.
José Antonio Yépez, better known as El Marro – or The Sledgehammer – was one of the country’s most wanted men.
Mexican police had approached him in recent months and had taken his mother and sister into custody.
Their arrests prompted him to post a bizarre and tearful video last month declaring war on the security forces.
The women have since been released.
Police arrested the suspect in a Sunday morning raid on two homes in Guanajuato, also freeing a kidnapped businesswoman and seizing weapons.
Eight other people were at both sites, most of whom were suspected gang members.
The 40-year-old is believed to be the head of the Santa Rosa de Lima cartel, which has engaged in turf war with other criminal organizations, including the powerful new generation Jalisco cartel.
BBC World Service editor-in-chief for Latin America Leonardo Rocha said his capture marks a significant victory for the Mexican government, which has battled an outbreak of violence that even the coronavirus pandemic has failed to succeed. to contain.
Leftist President Andrés Manuel López Obrador took power in December 2018 promising to “achieve peace and end the war” in the country, but more than 31,000 people were murdered in 2019 alone and thousands more have disappeared.
He promised to create a new national guard to fight the violence, but few of them signed up for the force.