The Borderland Beat in Ciudad Juarez
Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua - Extortions and murders continued to plague the City of Juarez Sunday. A house in Juarez was robbed then set on fire. Witnesses say several men stormed into the house and after robbing it, they set it on fire. Neighbors told police that the men had threatened the owners of the home several times before this attack. No arrests were made in this case.
A man was killed after being shot dozens of times inside a packed casino. Authorities say several gunmen walked into the "Play City" casino and opened fire around midnight Saturday night. They say 45-year-old Andres Barraza was shot at least 36 times.
Another man was also hurt in the attack but survived. Two other men were executed in a colonia in north Juarez. Police say one of the victims was found lying in the street, the other was inside a Dodge Neon. Both had several gunshot wounds. Their identities have not been released.
Mexican authorities won't release body of U.S. woman killed in Juárez
Two El Pasoans were shot to death last week in Juárez, and their relatives today said they can't get the Mexican authorities to release one of the bodies for burial in the United States.
The victims, Hector Calzada Jr., 20, and Catherine Calzada, 18, both U.S. citizens, died in separate attacks. Hector Calzada's body was returned to El Paso, but his sister's body is still at the Juárez morgue.
"We've gone to the FBI and the U.S. consulate, but when it comes to our sister's body, the investigators in Juárez keep giving us the runaround," said Linda Garza, sister of the two shooting victims. "The investigators at the Chihuahua state attorney general's office keep insisting that our mother go to their office before they release Catherine's body. The investigators' last names are Cortez and Caro."
"However, our family is afraid, and we are not going to Juárez for any reason. We have provided someone at the U.S. consulate with a power of attorney to sign any paperwork that is needed."
Hector and Catherine Calzada's biological father, Hector Calzada, was killed in Juárez in 2008. He was a businessman, and his murder has not been solved. He was Garza's stepfather.
"We don't know why they were killed. We just want to be able to bury them," Garza said. "My mother lived in Juárez, and my brother and sister went there all the time to see her."
Mexican authorities said Hector Calzada Jr. was driving a 2004 Toyota sedan when an armed group of men in another vehicle began shooting at him at the intersection of Avenida Pedro Rosales de Leon and Fuentes de Alvarado. The attack took place in the busy intersection at around 1 p.m. on Thursday.
A woman and a man who were Calzada's passengers in the Toyota were injured and taken to clinics for treatment.
Garza said other family members said Catherine Calzada was kidnapped April 14 at Mejia and Oro in central Juárez.
Garza said her sister's body was found the next day in another part of central Juárez.
"My brother was out looking for her when he was killed," Garza said. "Our relatives who were in Juárez have left the city for safety reasons."
Arturo Sandoval, spokesman for the Chihuahua state attorney general's office, said families generally can pick up the bodies of relatives from the morgue after identifying them and signing certain documents.
"I will try to find out what is holding up the process," Sandoval said.
10 federales arrested, accused of extortion
The director of the Mexican federal police said in an interview that 10 members of his police force have been arrested in Juárez on charges of extortion.
Facundo Rosas Rosas said on the agency's Web site that the officers were arrested by other members of the agency last week.
The officers were accused of extortion and breaking into private property without official orders.
Rosas Rosas said the agency was told that the officers were making a business out of illegal products. He did not specify the types of products.
"We as police are obliged to follow the law and its rules, and it is not right that these individuals take advantage of this opportunity, so we detained them," he said.
In the interview, Rosas Rosas said the arrests of the officers are a clear message to the public that illegal activity will not be tolerated.
He said that to gain the people's trust, the agency has to show that it will not tolerate that type of conduct among its own members.
He said the rule of law has to be a role model to the public and give it hope that the violence pervasive in Juárez will be resolved.
Rosas Rosas said he believes his agency is working in the right direction. He said that since the federal police took over the streets of Juárez the first week of April, homicides decreased from seven to four a day.
On April 5, the presence of federal police dramatically increased in the city, where more than 4,800 people have been killed since 2008.
Mexican officials have said that throughout April, 1,900 federal police officers will be sent by the federal government to Juárez, increasing the federal corps to 4,500.
Rosas Rosas said that the same week the federal police took over, six hit men of the Juárez drug cartel and four gang members who used to work for the Sinaloa cartel were arrested.