Guanajuato sees major Santa Rosa de Lima Cartel arrest with the capture of El Virolo, cousin of cartel’s leader, El Marro

Juan Esteban, alias El Virolo, falls into custody in Guanajuato amidst a violent confrontation between AIC officers and cartel gunmen.

In a significant blow to the Santa Rosa de Lima Cartel, Juan Esteban “N,” known by his alias El Virolo and reported to be the cousin of the cartel’s founder, was arrested by the Criminal Investigation Agency (AIC) of Guanajuato. The arrest on Friday morning set off a series of violent encounters between law enforcement and cartel members.

According to the Agora news portal, the incident occurred in the Pozos community, a known stronghold of the cartel, situated between Celaya and Juventino Rosas. Despite the AIC’s discrete approach, the capture of El Virolo triggered a pursuit on the Celaya-Juventino Rosas highway, leading to an armed confrontation at the community entrance of Roque, as confirmed by the Mexican State Attorney General’s Office (FGE).

“Members of the criminal group in their eagerness to rescue their leader attacked our agents with gunfire, who repelled the aggression,” the FGE communicated on social media.

One of the cars in which the criminals were traveling (Photo: X @BjxNoticias).
One of the cars in which the criminals were traveling (Photo: X @BjxNoticias).

The Confrontation’s Aftermath

The skirmish, depicted in videos shared via X, a social media platform, resulted in three alleged cartel members dead and two injured. Reports from local media suggest that an AIC officer was also wounded in the exchange, though the FGE has yet to verify this.

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In response to the violence, the Mexican National Guard and Army personnel were dispatched to the area, necessitating a temporary closure of the highway for the Mexican Forensic Medical Service (SEMEFO) and investigative teams to operate.

Ongoing Investigations and the Shadow of ‘El Marro’

El Marro' has been detained since August 2020. (CUARTOSCURO)
El Marro’ has been detained since August 2020. (CUARTOSCURO)

While the FGE remains tight-lipped on details, sources report that El Virolo was wanted on an aggravated homicide warrant. This arrest connects to the broader narrative of the cartel’s history, with El Virolo related to José Antonio Yépez Ortiz, aka El Marro, the cartel’s former leader notorious for “huachicoleo” – illegal fuel tapping – and drug trafficking in the region.

El Marro’s reign ended with his 2020 capture, and he is currently serving a 60-year sentence at ‘El Altiplano,’ the Federal Center for Social Rehabilitation no. 1. His arrest and the subsequent sentencing have been seen as a pivotal moment in Guanajuato’s fight against organized crime.