Category Archives: U.S.-Mexico relations

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U.S. doubts Mexican claims about Juárez consulate killings

The FBI and the families of the U.S. consular workers killed in March are doubting the Mexican claim that the person they arrested, Jesús Ernesto Chávez, aka El Camello, was the person who ordered the killings.  Mexican authorities cited El Camello’s confession that Lesley Enriquez was targeted because she authorized visas for rivals of the Los Aztecas (also known as Barrio Azteca) gang. Per the Dallas Morning News story:

U.S. authorities expressed doubts about the claim, and the victims’ family members in El Paso said they stand by what they’ve said from the beginning: They have no reason to believe that the consulate employee and her husband were targeted because of their work. … “Something is not adding up,” said Andrea Simmons, an FBI spokeswoman. “We still maintain that we don’t have information to say they were targeted because of their jobs. We’re still investigating. We’re still working with Mexican authorities to solve the case.” Three U.S. officials, including two law enforcement authorities speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly, said Chávez is an important lieutenant in the Barrio Azteca organization but not the person who orchestrated the killings, as Mexican authorities said Friday. They said another man was being sought on suspicion that he ordered the killings.

Federal Police capture killer of U.S. consular workers

The Federal Police captured Jesús Ernesto Chávez Castillo, alias “El Camello,” and six others for the March 13 murder of a U.S. consular worker and two others.  Lesley Ann Enríquez, her husband Arthur H. Redelfs, and Jorge Alberto Salcido, the spouse of another consulate employee were shot as they drove away from a party held by families that worked at the consulate in Juárez. El Camello, 41,  is said to be the leader of “Los Aztecas”, a group linked to the armed wing of the Juárez cartel known as “La Línea.”

The chief of the anti-drug division,  Ramón Pequeño, said, “Intelligence reports indicate that Jesús Ernesto Chávez Castillo alias ‘El Camello’ was the person who ordered the killing of the U.S. consular personnel on March 13 in Ciudad Juárez, handled the logistics, and provided weapons to the killers. Chávez Castillo confessed that the order to attack the official of the U.S. consulate came from members of ‘La Línea’ located in the United States, since [Lesley Ann Enríquez] facilitated visas for members of a rival group known as “Los Artistas Asesinos” or “AA”.  He related that on the day of the attack, they determined that she was traveling in a white truck; however, that day there were two vehicles of the same color.  Since they were uncertain of which one she was traveling in, they opened fire against both,” Pequeño continued.

According to Pequeño, El Camello also confessed to being involved in the killings of the 13 teenagers in Villas de Salvarcar in Ciudad Juárez last January.  Los Aztecas staged the attack because they thought there were members of Los Artistas Asesinos at the party. The killings of 19 persons (most of them members of Los Aztecas) at the Fe y Vida drug rehab center in Juárez last month was reportedly staged by AA in retaliation.

The SSP said that El Camello reported to Antonio Acosta Hernández, aka “El Dientón”, #2 in La Línea, who was under the command of Juan Pablo Ledezma, aka “El JL”, #2 in the Juárez Cartel, under  Vicente Carrillo Fuentes. El Camello spent 5 years in a Louisiana penitentiary for dealing drugs. He had previously been arrested by the Army in April, 2008, but was released. El Camello stated that most   members of Los Aztecas were recruited in U.S. prisons by inmates belonging to “La Línea,” and became active gang members after being deported to Mexico. (Reforma 7/2, Excelsior 7/2, Ministry of Public Safety 7/2)

Threats to U.S. diplomats in Monterrey?

A note from today’s Templo Mayor column:

ONLY A FEW are in the know about some departures from the U.S. consulate in Monterrey in recent days.

FIRST was the now ex-consul general Bruce Williamson, who was promoted by the State Dept. and transferred to Peru.

THE OTHER had nothing festive about it; the departure was of a consular official who received threatening telephone calls … here in Mexico.

AFTER EVALUATING the messages, security officials in the consulate concluded that they were not dealing with idle boasts but threats that had to be taken seriously.

AS A RESULT the official and his family were evacuated, with only a few hours to pack their belongings and flee the city.

THIS EXPLAINS, so they say, why Washington decided that the new consul for Monterrey who will arrive in September will be a security expert … Who will it be?

Video shows border patrol officer shooting Sergio Adrian Hernandez

A widely-circulated video taken on a cellphone shows the killing of Sergio Adrian Hernández by a U.S. border patrol officer.  The officer had seized one of the teenagers and fired three shots at the other fleeing youths.  The video would clearly appear to support Mexican claims of disproportionate use of force, and absence of any danger to the officer who fired the shots.

New flashpoint: Killing of 15 year old in Juárez by U.S. border patrol

The WSJ had the most detailed coverage of the killing. The key paragraphs from Nicolas Casey’s story:

According to two witnesses on the bridge, the victim [Sergio Adrián Hernández] was part of a group of teens who had sidestepped border checkpoints on the Santa Fe Bridge—which is flanked by border checkpoints on either side—and entered the U.S. on foot, crossing a dry aqueduct and an old railroad beside the bridge. None were carrying backpacks or appeared to have weapons, the two witnesses said.

The teens were playing a kind of “cat-and-mouse game,” said Bobbie McDow, 52, a U.S. national who said she witnessed the shooting from the middle of the bridge where she was standing. The teenagers, Ms. McDow said, appeared to be trying to make it to the U.S. side and quickly back to Mexico without being caught by officials, a pattern that Ms. McDow said she has noticed.

Ms. McDow said that U.S. border agents spotted the teenagers and gave chase. One teen stumbled and was caught, and another was pinned down by an agent who had chased him by bicycle, she said. While holding down one of the Mexican boys, this agent fired shots toward Mexico.

One of the youths—not the young Mr. Hernández—had thrown rocks at the border patrol agents, Ms. McDow said, but she stressed that the agent’s “life wasn’t under threat.” (WSJ 6/8)

Assault rifles seized in Laredo

James McKinley of the NYT reports:

Federal authorities are investigating the origin of one of the largest gun seizures ever on the Mexico border: a cache of 147 assault rifles with banana clips and bayonets discovered in a truck being driven down a residential street in Laredo on Saturday, the local police said. Officers acting on a tip pulled over the truck and arrested the men inside after a short chase. Inside, they discovered 147 new AK-47 rifles, still in their boxes; 263 high-capacity magazines; 53 bayonets; and 10,000 rounds of ammunition — enough for a small army. Federal agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement took the men into custody.