Tuesday, March 30, 2010

6 Found Shot to Death in Valley of Juárez


Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua - Chihuahua state police on Monday identified five people killed in the community of Placitas on Sunday in the Valley of Juarez.

They are Fernando César Mares Chávez, 18, Miguel Guadalupe Sánchez Bojorquez, 23, Jesus Hernandez Avila, 19, Gabriela Avila, 29, and Luis Gerardo Castillo Dominguez, 22.

The four men and woman were found shot to death Sunday near the village of Placitas in the violent Valley of Juárez.

The bodies were found about 11 a.m. on a dirt road off the Juárez-Porvenir highway, said Enrique Torres, spokesman for Coordinated Operation Chihuahua.

Torres Sunday had identified one of the victims as 18-year-old Cesar Mares Chavez. Investigators found 11 bullet casings at the scene.

At 9 a.m. Sunday, the body of an unidentified man was found stabbed to death on a soccer field in El Sauzal, also in the valley located east of Juárez. Chihuahua state police said the man had been stabbed multiple times.

The Valley of Juárez, located across the border in the area from San Elizario to Fort Hancock, is a prime smuggling corridor that is a battleground in the war between the Sinaloa and Juárez drug cartels.

Many residents of the small agricultural towns in the valley have fled as the warfare has persisted for more than two years.

On Saturday, there were at least five homicides in Juárez -- the murder capital of Mexico.

On Friday night, a Mexican federal police officer was killed and three others were wounded during an attack outside a Juárez hotel housing federal police deployed to the city, Torres said. The officers were exiting the Santa Fe hotel when they were fired upon by gunmen in a sport utility vehicle and two compact cars.

It is unknown if the assault was retaliation for the capture of four suspected hit men of La Linea, or Juárez drug cartel, following a vehicle pursuit and shootout earlier that day in the streets of Juárez.

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