Blog dedicated to reporting on Mexican drug cartels
on the border line between the US and Mexico

Friday, February 5, 2021

Two High-Ranking Santa Rosa de Lima Cartel Members Arrested

 "MX" for Borderland Beat

Juan "El Tecos" (left) and Juan Refugio "El Barbas", both from the Santa Rosa de Lima Cartel, were arrested yesterday in Mexico. 

Mexican security forces arrested two high-ranking Santa Rosa de Lima Cartel (CSRL) members yesterday. The first detainee, Juan Refugio "El Barbas", was the CSRL's head of assassins and prime suspect in the murder of five people in Acambaro, Guanajuato, in May 2019. The second detainee, Juan "El Tecos", is believed to have been involved in the club massacre in Parral del Progreso, Guanajuato, that left 11 dead in September 2020, as reported by Borderland Beat.

El Barbas was arrested in an upscale neighborhood in Morelia, Michoacán, after a judge issued an arrest warrant for his capture earlier this week. Investigators were able to track his whereabouts after a two-month investigation following the arrest of CSRL member Jose Ramon A. "El Mamer", arrested in November 2020. Moreover, Guanajuato Prosecutor's Office reported that investigations are underway to clarify if El Teco could be involved in other crimes in Guanajuato.


In May 2020, the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) released two videos where El Mamer and El Barbas were mentioned. The CJNG interrogated a suspected CSRL drug dealer, Sabrino "El Pajaro", who said that these two men were receiving protection from the mayor of Acambaro, Alejandro Tirado Zuniga.

El Pajaro said that El Mamer commanded a group of sicarios and that El Barbas was responsible for extorting multiple businesses and politicians from Acambaro. Among the businesses extorted, the interrogee said, included butcheries, bars, and beer warehouses.

CJNG members interrogate 'El Pajaro'; he was beheaded at the end of the video

According to his testimony, El Mamer was responsible for kidnappings and disappearances in Celaya and Acambaro, and conducted these activities with the help of the municipal police. He also said that El Barbas reported to Juan Manuel Mejia Romero "El Januelo", who was imprisoned in Celaya but continued to command a CSRL cell behind bars.

El Pajaro gave the CJNG members the address to El Barbas' house in Michoacán before he was beheaded. 

Cartel turf war 

Much of the violence unfolding in Guanajuato in recent years has been attributed to the turf war between the CSRL and the CJNG. The CSRL's leader Jose Antonio Yepez Ortiz, "El Marro", was arrested in August 2020. At the moment of his arrest, he was one of Mexico's most-wanted criminals. The CJNG's top leader, Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes, "El Mencho", is currently a fugitive.

While the CJNG continues to its expansionist efforts in Guanajuato and other parts of Mexico, the CSRL has lost momentum in recent months. Most of the group's capacity is limited to the Bajío region.

Sources: Infobae (1); Infobae (2); El Universal


  1. Grupo Pantera de CJNG made the Pajaro video. Grupo Pantera = armed wing in Guanajuato and Queretaro
    Grupo Elite = Michoacán, Jalisco, Guanajuato
    Grupo Delta = Guadalajara metro area and Los Cuinis security
    Grupo Guerrero = Zacatecas
    Gente del Mencho = Jalisco and Michoacán, Mencho and family security

  2. Anyone have the beheading video mentioned? Es para una tarea ...


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