Mexico police capture gang leader in US consular killings

Last Updated: Saturday, July 3, 2010 - 10:35

Mexico City: A Mexican drug gang leader claimed he ordered the killing of a US consulate worker because she helped members of a rival gang obtain US visas in Ciudad Juarez, officials said on Friday.

Jesus Ernesto Chavez, who was detained on Thursday, belonged to the Aztecas gang of hitmen working for the powerful Juarez cartel, Ramon Pequeno, the anti-narcotics chief for the federal police told reporters.

Lesley Enriquez, the US employee, her American husband Arthur Redelfs and Jorge Alberto Salcido, the Mexican husband of another consular employee, were killed in two daylight attacks after a party in the border city of Ciudad Juarez in March.

Salcido had left the same party as the couple in a separate vehicle.

Chavez said that gunmen had also opened fire on Salcido because the two cars were the same color, Pequeno said.

The attacks put Mexico`s murder capital under a heightened glare of US attention only two months after the gruesome massacre of 15 young people at a party in the same city on January 31.

Chavez, 41, also admitted responsibility in that killing and said the youths had been confused with rivals from another gang, according to Pequeno.

The gang member, detained with five others, had been responsible for logistics of kidnappings, extortion, car theft and drug trafficking in the notorious border city across from El Paso, Texas, Pequeno said.

The Juarez cartel is fighting for control of Ciudad Juarez against the Sinaloa cartel, which uses gangs of hitmen including Los Mexicles and Artistas Asesinos.

The city is the worst-hit in Mexico`s spiraling drug-related violence that has left almost 23,000 people dead since December 2006.

Bureau Report

First Published: Saturday, July 3, 2010 - 10:35
comments powered by Disqus