In 2008, Cd. Juárez was the murder capital of the world because of a drug war between Chapo Guzman’s Sinaloa cartel and the Juárez cartel. By 2010, over 3,700 homicides were committed in that year alone. In March of 2010, a U.S. Consulate employee and her husband, a detention officer at the County Jail of El Paso were murdered in Juárez. On April 24, 2014, Arturo Gallegos Castrellon aka “Benny” was sentenced to life in prison for leading a “team of assassins” that murdered almost 1,600 people, most in Cd. Juárez.
According to the court records, Arturo Gallegos ordered the murder of Leslie Ann Enriquez, the U.S. Consulate employee in Cd. Juarez and her husband Arthur Redelfs, an El Paso County employee. According to an appeal filed by Gallegos with The Fifth Circuit Court, in 2016, Gallegos received “much” of the information about the potential targets from the “Azteca headquarters in El Paso, Texas.”
As I posted in my three-part “Conspiracy Sealed in Blood” (link) series, El Paso has always played a significant and supporting role in the drug violence in Juárez. The case of the three murdered individuals by the Barrio Azteca gang in 2010 adds another element to the suffering of the citizens of Juárez due to American officials who care little about Mexican lives at the expense of credit for convictions and drug war “wins”.
After a multi-national investigation, the U.S. Consulate-related murders were tracked to an El Paso-based and created gang known as the Barrio Azteca. The Barrio Aztecas and MS-13 have similar pedigrees in that both were created in American jails. The investigation found that Barrio Azteca leader “Benny” Gallegos was the leader who ordered the murders.
Gallegos was extradited to the United States on June 28, 2012.
A DEA confidential source identified by the initials “EQ” testified in court that he became an informant on July 2010. As part of his work for the DEA, EQ setup a Kenwood radio receiver to allow the DEA to monitor Barrio Azteca radio calls between El Paso and Cd. Juárez. EQ and the DEA monitored “about 7,000 hours” of radio calls.
According to court testimony, one of the Barrio Azteca hitmen squads carried out “at least three killings” per week between September 2009 and October 2010. If we take the “three killings per week” by one of the hitmen squads we can then extrapolate that at least 91 individuals were killed by this one squad of killers while the DEA listened in on the Azteca radio network. In 2010, more than 3,000 people were killed in Juárez.
The case against Gallegos revealed that the DEA heard Gallegos ordering the murders of people in Juárez. The court testimony revealed that the DEA listened to at least 80 assassination plots, knowing in advance that Juárez residents were going to be killed, but instead of arresting Gallegos, the DEA waited until late in November to allow his arrest by Mexican officials charging him with several murders along with the murder of the U.S. official.
In other words, the DEA, already with enough evidence – the recordings – against Gallego chose to sit back and wait for 80 more Juárez residents to be murdered before intervening to stop the mayhem.
Juárez residents literally paid with their lives because the DEA chose to do nothing even knowing in advance that people were going to be killed.