Mexico judge holds gang leader for trial for fuel theft

MEXICO CITY (AP) — A Mexican court has ordered the leader of the Santa Rosa de Lima gang held over for trial on organized crime charges.

José Antonio Yépez Ortiz will be held in prison for at least two months at a maximum security prison just west of Mexico City until further hearings are held.

The Attorney General's Office said Wednesday that Yépez Ortiz participated in a criminal organization that stole fuel from government pipelines or refineries.

He was arrested in early August after years in which his gang spread violence through the north-central state of Guanajuato and fought a years-long bloody turf battle with the Jalisco New Generation drug cartel.

Yépez Ortiz is better known by his nickname “El Marro,” which means “The Sledgehammer.”

Yépez Ortiz was unusual among gang leaders because he posted videos with emotional calls to his followers, including one in June showing him appearing to cry after several of his supporters and relatives were arrested. In another video around the same time, he threatened to join forces with the Sinaloa cartel to defeat Jalisco New Generation, Mexico’s fastest-rising cartel.