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35 Mexico gang members indicted including 10 tied to envoy killings
12 arrested in N.M., Texas
Thirty-five members and associates of the Barrio Azteca gang were indicted Wednesday on charges of racketeering, murder, drug offenses, money laundering and obstruction of justice, including 10 Mexican nationals accused in the March 13 killings in Mexico of U.S. Consulate employee Leslie Ann Enriquez Catton; her husband, Arthur Redelfs, and Jorge Alberto Salcido Ceniceros, husband of a U.S. Consulate employee.
Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said federal, state and local authorities arrested in Texas and New Mexico 12 of the charged defendants not already in custody. Seven others named in the killings and two other indicted defendants are in custody in Mexico.
“The indictment unsealed today represents our continued action to ensure safety along our Southwest border, to seek justice for victims of violent crime in this region, and to weaken dangerous criminal organizations currently operating in Mexico and the United States,” Mr. Holder said.
According to the indictment, the Barrio Azteca gang began in the late 1980s as a violent prison gang and has expanded into a transnational criminal organization primarily based in West Texas; the border town of Juarez, Mexico, and throughout state and federal prisons in the United States and Mexico.
Its specialities include drug trafficking, money laundering, extortion, intimidation, violence, threats of violence and murder.
The indictment said 10 named gang members, among others, participated in the killing of Mrs. Enriquez, 25; Mr. Redelfs, 30 — both U.S. citizens — and Mr. Salcido, 37. The victims were gunned down after attending a birthday party in Juarez.
Mr. Redelfs was a 10-year veteran of the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office. Mrs. Enriquez was four months pregnant with their second child.
Jose Antonio Acosta Hernandez; Eduardo Ravelo; Luis Mendez; Arturo Gallegos Castrellon; Ricardo Valles de la Rosa; Jose Guadalupe Diaz Diaz; Martin Perez Marrufo; Luis Humberto Hernandez Celis; Miguel Angel Nevarez; and Enrique Guajardo Lopez are charged with conspiracy to kill persons in a foreign country, murder and murder in aid of racketeering.
Hernandez, Ravelo, and Mendez are currently at large.
The U.S. government has filed provisional warrants with Mexico for their arrest. Ravelo is currently one of the FBI’s Top Ten Most Wanted fugitives, and the FBI is offering a reward of up to $100,000 for information leading directly to his arrest.
In addition to the consulate slayings, the indictment alleges that in December 2006, a gang member shot and killed Jose Luis Oviedo in El Paso. In 2007, gang members allegedly kidnapped a man in El Paso and took him across the U.S.-Mexico border to Juarez. In March 2008, the gang allegedly ordered the slaying of gang member David Merez, who was killed that same month in Juarez.
The indictment also alleges that the gang caused two persons to be fatally shot in Socorro, Texas, on July 2, 2009. In August 2010, the indictment alleges that gang members kidnapped the wife and parents of a gang member whom they believed was cooperating with U.S. law enforcement and also killed the member’s stepdaughter.
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