- The Washington Times - Monday, March 15, 2010

CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico | Three people with ties to the American consulate were killed in a drug-plagued Mexican city, including a U.S. couple fatally shot within sight of the border with their baby in their back seat, officials said Sunday.

President Obama expressed outrage over the killings, and Mexican President Felipe Calderon promised a swift investigation.

Several U.S. citizens have been killed in Mexico’s drug war, most of them people with family ties to Mexico. However, it is rare for American government employees to be targeted.

The three died during a particularly bloody weekend in Mexico, with nearly 50 people killed in apparent drug-gang violence. Nine people were killed in a gang shootout early Sunday in the Pacific resort city of Acapulco, one of Mexico’s spring break attractions.

The U.S. Consulate employee and her husband were fatally shot Saturday in their car near the Santa Fe International bridge linking Ciudad Juarez with El Paso, Texas, said Vladimir Tuexi, a spokesman for Chihuahua state prosecutors’ office.

Their baby was found unharmed in the back seat. Mr. Tuexi estimated the child was about 1 year old.

Killed were consular employee Lesley A. Enriquez, 35, and her husband, Arthur H. Redelf, 34, according to Robert Cason, Mr. Redelf’s stepfather. Mr. Redelf was a detention officer with the El Paso County Jail, Mr. Cason said. The U.S. government has not described Mrs. Enriquez’s job at the consulate.

The White House said the husband of a Mexican citizen employee was also killed Saturday, apparently in a separate shooting. Mexican authorities had no information on that slaying.

Mr. Obama was “deeply saddened and outraged” by the killings, the White House said.

“He extends his condolences to the families and condemns these attacks on consular and diplomatic personnel serving at our foreign missions,” the White House said. “In concert with Mexican authorities, we will work tirelessly to bring their killers to justice.”

Civilians have increasingly gotten caught in the middle of drug gang violence that has made Ciudad Juarez one of the deadliest cities in the world, with more than 2,500 people killed last year alone. At least 11 people were killed in Ciudad Juarez over the weekend.

The State Department authorized U.S. government employees at Ciudad Juarez and five other U.S. consulates in northern Mexico to send their family members out of the area because of concerns about rising drug violence. The cities are Tijuana, Nogales, Nuevo Laredo, Monterrey and Matamoros.

Mr. Calderon’s office said the Mexican president “expresses his indignation” and “his sincerest condolences to the families of the victims.” He “reiterated the Mexican government’s unwavering compromise to resolve these grave crimes.”

The State Department noted the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City has advised American citizens to delay unnecessary travel to parts of the Mexican states of Durango, Coahuila and Chihuahua.

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