Reporting on the Mexican Cartel Drug War

Death Squad Caught in Juarez

Saturday, March 20, 2010 |

Alleged death-squad boss jailed in Juárez.

El Paso Times

The alleged leader of a Juárez drug-cartel death squad named Los Linces and three other men have been arrested in connection with the massacre of 15 people at a birthday party.

The alleged death-squad leader is also accused in a Juárez strip-club shooting in which a member of the U.S. Air Force was slain in November.

The arrests -- announced by the Mexican army Wednes day afternoon -- bring to seven the number of suspects detained in the Jan. 30 attack at the party in which 11 of the victims were teen agers.

The alleged Linces leader, Juan Alfredo Soto Arias, alias "El Arnold" or "El 7," was arrested by federal Mexican authorities Tuesday morning while he was driving a car with a minor, said Enrique Torres, spokes man for the Coordinated Operation Chihuahua.

Soto, 29, was allegedly armed with an AK-47 and a 9-mm pistol when he was taken into custody. Investigators also found ammunition and another handgun at his home.

Los Linces (the lynxes) have been described as the shock troops of the Juárez drug cartel and were reputed to have been formed by ex-members of the Mexican army, though Torres said Soto has no known military background. Soto's occupation was listed as a yonkero, or junkyard owner.

This is video surveillance of José Alfredo Soto Arias (a) "El 7" o "El Arnold", who is presumed leader of the cell of "Los Linces." This video was recorded November 4, 2009 in the bar Amadeus during executions.

Pictured is "El Arnold" right before he participates in executions of victims in the bar.

Soto, who has a tribal-style tattoo on the side of his neck, is suspected in 15 homicides, including the shooting of six people at the Amadeus strip club last November. Those victims included Staff Sgt. David Booher, an off-duty member of the U.S. Air Force.

On Jan. 30, Soto allegedly ordered some of his men to take part in the attack because they mistakenly believed the people at the party were members of the rival Artistas Asesinos gang, federal authorities said.

The Linces were allegedly working for Jose Antonio Acosta Hernandez, aka "El Diego" or "El 10" or "Blablazo," who remains at large. The attack itself was directed by Adrian "El Rama" Ramirez of El Paso, who was later killed in a shootout with soldiers, officials said.

An unnamed Aztecas gang leader also sent gang members to take part in the attack.

The three other men recently arrested were an alleged Aztecas gang member identified as Heriberto Martinez, Luis Alberto "El Shoker" or "El Flaco" Camacho Ramos and Jesus Bustos Renteria. Authorities said Martinez and Camacho were "halcones," or lookouts during the assault.

Mexican federal authorities said evidence on the massacre is coming from an unnamed "protected witness."

The Aztecas, known as the Barrio Azteca in the U.S., work as muscle for the Juá rez drug cartel, reputedly led by Vicente Carrillo Fuentes.

The birthday party killings of the teenagers described as innocent students and athletes sparked an outrage in Juárez, eventually leading to three visits to the embattled city by Mexican President Felipe Calderón.




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