A Texas judge sentenced two members of the Barrio Azteca gang to life in prison for the murders of a US consulate employee and two others more than 12 years ago in Mexico.
The court found the Barrio Azteca gunmen directly responsible for the March 2010 murders in Juarez, Mexico, of US consulate employee Leslie Enriquez, her husband Arthur Redelfs, and the husband of another consulate employee Jorge Salcido.
“The gunmen who viciously shot and killed (the victims) will now deservedly spend the rest of their lives in prison,” a justice department statement said.
“(The) prosecution demonstrates the department’s commitment to combating violent transnational criminal organizations and holding accountable those who may harm Americans, whether at home or abroad.”
The convicted are José Guadalupe Díaz Díaz, alias “Zorro”, 43, and Martín Artín Pérez Marrufo, alias “Popeye,” 54, both from Chihuahua, Mexico.
The court found them guilty of all 11 counts after a 13-day jury trial in the Western District of Texas, El Paso Division, in February.
The jury found Diaz and Marrufo guilty of conspiracy to commit racketeering, narcotics trafficking and importation, money laundering, and murder in a foreign country.
The Justice Department said the victims were coming from a child’s birthday party when they were misidentified as targets by members of Barrio Azteca and gunned down in a senseless act of violence.
The Barrio Azteca is a transnational criminal organization engaged in, among other things, money laundering, racketeering, and drug-related activities in El Paso, Texas.
The Justice Department said the gang allied with other drug gangs to battle the Sinaloa Cartel, then headed by Joaquín “Chapo” Guzman, and its allies for control of the drug trafficking routes through Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico.
The drug routes through Juarez, known as the Juarez Plaza, are important to drug trafficking organizations because it is a principal illicit drug trafficking route into the United States.
Diaz was extradited from Mexico on Nov.13, 2019, and Maruffo was extradited from Mexico on Jan.18, 2020.
The extraditions were the result of close coordination between US and Mexican law enforcement authorities, who have cooperated in the investigation and prosecution of this case.