The deadly two-year conflict between two Mexican cartels ramped up this weekend when gunmen barged into a church and killed a rival cartel leader’s sister on her wedding day and kidnapped the groom, another high ranking gangster.

Karem Lizbeth Yépez Ortiz was standing on the altar opposite her soon-to-be-husband, known in the Mexican criminal underworld as ‘El Calamardo,’ on Saturday afternoon as mass was about to conclude at the Our Lady of San Juan church when it was abruptly interrupted by a hail of bullets.

Karem Lizbeth Yépez Ortiz was the sister of José Antonio ‘El Marro’ Yépez Ortiz, leader of the Santa Rosa de Lima Cartel and was in charge of the organization’s finances.

A high-level law enforcement official confirmed to La Silla Rota that the bride was shot dead. 

Some reports placed El Marro at the scene and that he escaped unharmed. 

Several Mexican news outlets reported that witnesses said the attackers were wearing bulletproof vests with the initials of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel and sent wedding guests diving for cover while others attempted to flee the church. Other invitees who made eye contact with the assailants were shot at, too.

The Jalisco New Generation Cartel gunmen were seen escaping in at least three vehicles and were shot at by some of the wedding attendees. 

An 18-year-old bystander riding a motorcycle was caught in the crossfire and was shot dead on a road near the church.

A spokesperson with state attorney general’s office confirmed to that a passenger accompanying the 18-year-old was wounded.

The official, however, could not confirm whether Karem Lizbeth Yépez Ortiz was killed as well as the total number of victims injured at the church but did say the incident was still being investigated.

Karem Lizbeth Yépez Ortiz’s murder came a day after María Guadalupe López Esquivel, a high-ranking female operative for the Jalisco New Generation Cartel died during a confrontation with Mexican security forces in La Bocanda, a town in the central state of Michoacán.

López Esquivel was 21-years-old and was known as ‘La Catrina,’ Mexico’s ‘Grande Dame of Death,’ a satirical skeleton figure celebrated on the Day of the Dead. 

Jalisco New Generation Cartel has been embroiled in a on-going turf fight with the Santa Rosa de Lima Cartel dating back to December 2017 when Nemesio ‘El Mencho’ Oseguera Cervantes declared war on El Marro.

Both factions have been disputing the right to the lucrative illegal oil tapping business or ‘huachicoleo’ throughout the Guanajuato municipalities of Salamanca, Apaseo El Grande, León, Irapuato and Celaya, leaving hundreds of fighters and innocent people dead.

Mexico has been on the manhunt for El Mencho  since 2015.  The U.S. also wants the him and has offered a $10million reward for his capture. 

In February 2019, presumed members of the Santa Rosa de Lima Cartel drove up to an auto body shop in Guanajuato and delivered a deadly assault against alleged associates of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel.

One of the killers, apparently carrying a Go-Pro camera attached to his body, recorded the moment two pickup trucks make a sudden stop on a dirt street and unleash the savage strike on the unsuspecting men. 

In August, Jalisco New Generation Cartel used a cellphone to record itself parading a high-ranking official with the Santa Rosa de Lima Cartel.

The half-naked Adolfo Mendoza Valencia, who was in charge of managing a “plaza” or turf operated by the group in the city of Valle de Santiago, was bound to a chair with his hands and feet tied. He was then executed and his body was hung from a highway overpass.


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