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- 06-30-2012, 12:20 PM #1
Barrio Azteca leader extradited to US
Re puted Barrio Azteca leader extradited to US
By Daniel Borunda \ El Paso Timeselpasotimes.com
Posted: 06/30/2012 12:00:00 AM MDT
A reputed leader in the Barrio Azteca gang accused of authorizing thousands of killings in Juárez, including the deaths of three people linked to the U.S. Consulate, has been extradited to the U.S.
Arturo Gallegos Castrellon, known as "El Farmero" and "Benny," was sent to the U.S. on Thursday and made his first appearance before a U.S. magistrate judge on Friday in El Paso. He faces racketeering, conspiracy and other charges.
Mexican federal police arrested Gallegos during a raid at a home in Juárez in November 2010.
Mexican authorities said Gallegos had told police that he was "responsible for at least 80 percent of the homicides in Juárez" between August 2009 and November 2010.
The "80 percent" figure allegedly given by Gallegos raised doubts among observers. The figure would translate to about 3,378 murders during the drug cartel warfare in Juárez.
Federal police officials had said the Aztecas had divided Juárez into seven sectors and that Gallegos was the boss who oversaw all of them. The Aztecas worked as the muscle in the Juárez drug cartel's war with the rival Sinaloa cartel.
Mexican federal police accused Gallegos of ordering the slayings of 15 students at a birthday party in Villas de Salvarcar in Juárez, the deaths of five federal police officers and the killings of three people linked to the U.S. Consulate in Juárez. The killings at the birthday party caused outrage in Mexico, and Mexican President Felipe
Calderón visited Juárez to launch social programs to help limit the violence.
On March 13, 2010, U.S. Consulate employee Lesley Enriquez Redelfs and her husband, Arthur Redelfs, an El Paso County sheriff's detention officer, were fatally shot in a street attack after leaving a consulate-related children's party in Juárez.
Jorge Salcido Ceniceros, whose wife worked at the consulate, was killed in a separate street shooting after leaving the same party in another vehicle at about the same time.
"We allege that Gallegos Castrellon participated in the U.S. Consulate shootings in March 2010," Assistant Attorney General Breuer said in a statement. "His extradition to the United States is an important step forward in our pursuit of justice for the victims of those tragic murders in Juárez, Mexico. Innocent men and women on both sides of our border with Mexico should not have to live in fear of Barrio Azteca and other violent criminal gangs."
Mark Morgan, the special agent in charge of the FBI in El Paso, said Gallegos' extradition was "a shining example of effective coordination and collaboration with the law enforcement community within El Paso, as well as the government of Mexico, to ensure the border will not act as an obstacle to justice being served."
Gallegos was one of 35 people indicted by the U.S. in 2011 in a racketeering case against reputed leaders, members and associates of the Barrio Azteca. If convicted, Gallegos faces life in prison.
Of the 35 defendants charged, 33 have been arrested, 24 have pleaded guilty, one committed suicide while on trial and six are awaiting extradition from Mexico, officials said.
The only two fugitives are Luis Mendez and Eduardo "Tablas" Ravelo, a reputed gang capo on the FBI's 10-most-wanted list. The Aztecas in Juárez and the Barrio Azteca in El Paso are believed to have separate leadership structures.
Daniel Borunda may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; 546-6102. Follow him on Twitter @BorundaDaniel.
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- 06-30-2012, 02:11 PM #2
- Join Date
- Apr 2012
While I'm glad for the arrests, the extraditions, the trials and convictions, what positive effect has this had upon the overall situation? Has anyone noticed any improvement on either side of the border? This does not look like a final solution.
- 06-30-2012, 03:10 PM #3