Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Informant puts out a hit on another informant

A man accused of hiring a U.S. Army soldier and another man to kill a Mexican drug cartel lieutenant who was cooperating with U.S. authorities was himself a government informant, police said Tuesday.


In this photo provided by the El Paso police department, Ruben Rodriguez Dorado is shown, Monday, Aug. 10, 2009.

Ruben Rodriguez Dorado hired Pfc. Michael Jackson Apodaca, 18, and Christopher Duran, 17, to help kill Jose Daniel Gonzalez Galeana, El Paso police said Tuesday in charging documents against them. The three men were arrested Monday and charged with capital murder in the May 15 slaying of Gonzalez, who was shot eight times outside his pricey El Paso home.

Rodriguez, like Gonzalez, was an informant working with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement service, El Paso Police Chief Greg Allen said. He said a warrant has been issued for a fourth man who police say ordered and paid for the killing.



Pfc. Michael Jackson Apodaca

Gonzalez was living in El Paso on a visa given to him by ICE when he was killed, Allen said.

An ICE spokeswoman, Leticia Zamarripa, did not immediately respond to an e-mail request seeking comment Tuesday. She previously had declined to comment on whether Gonzalez was working with the service.

Apodaca, Duran and Rodriguez were being held on $1 million bond.

Apodaca, who was stationed at nearby Fort Bliss, told investigators he was paid to kill Gonzalez, according to police. Duran said he drove the getaway car after the shooting, police said. Authorities did not say how much each was allegedly paid.


Christopher Duran

According to the charging documents, the Juarez cartel wanted Gonzalez killed because they believed he was a government informant or had changed his allegiance to a rival cartel, and had provided information to authorities that led to the arrest of a more senior cartel member.

Gonzalez was in fact an informant for the ICE, according to three U.S. officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak about it.

Investigators said Rodriguez told them Monday that like Gonzalez, he was a midlevel member of the Juarez cartel, which he referred to as the "Compania." He said his job was to coordinate surveillance by "following intended victims up until their execution in Mexico," and that he had been ordered to track down Gonzalez, according to the charging documents.

Gonzalez, who apparently ran a freight company from his two-story home, was aware Rodriguez was looking for him and told a witness he would be killed if Rodriguez found him, police said.

The night of the killing, Rodriguez, Apodaca and Duran tracked down Gonzalez at a relative's home in nearby Canutillo, followed him home and killed him, investigators said.

A witness reported hearing an argument in Spanish just before the shooting, police said.

Apodaca, a native of El Paso, enlisted in September and was assigned to the 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade.

A Fort Bliss spokeswoman, Jean Offutt, declined to discuss the specifics of Apodaca's case.

"Any time someone does something like this, and a soldier in our case, it's terrible," Offutt said.

Investigators said Rodriguez recruited a small group of El Paso men to work for him, including Apodaca and Duran.

All three men and a 16-year-old boy were arrested in May and charged with trying to steal a truckload of televisions from an El Paso dealership, Cazador Logistics. Those charges are pending.

Sheriff's deputies said the four tried to hook a 53-foot (16-meter) trailer containing the televisions onto one of two sport utility vehicles but were unsuccessful and fled. They were arrested a short time later on a highway east of the city.

The 16-year-old's name was withheld because he was treated as a juvenile.

UPDATE:
10/30/2009

Associated Press

An El Paso County grand jury has indicted three men, including a federal informant, on capital murder chargers in the contract killing of a fellow informant.

Court records show 31-year-old Ruben Rodriguez Dorado, a Juarez cartel hit man and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement informant, U.S. Army Pfc. Michael Jackson Apodaca, 18, and 17-year-old Christopher Duran were each indicted on a capital murder involving payment charge.

The records show that Rodriguez is a Juarez cartel hit man and U.S. Immigrant and Customs Enforcement informant.

The three, along with a juvenile and another man, are accused of fatally shooting fellow cartel lieutenant and ICE informant Jose Daniel Gonzalez Galeana. An arraignment hasn't been scheduled.

The three have been jailed since their August arrests.

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