By Adriana Gómez Licón / EL PASO TIMES
and the Associated Press
Lesley Enriquez and her husband, Arthur Redelfs.
Mexican authorities announced the arrest on Friday of two members of the Barrio Azteca gang for the murders of a U.S. Consulate employee and her husband in Ciudad Juárez on March 13, 2010.
Mexican officials said Jesús Ernesto "El Camello" Chávez Castillo is accused of providing the weapons and planning the execution of consulate employee Lesley Enriquez and her husband, Arthur Redelfs.
Chavez Castillo allegedly led a band of hit men for the Barrio Azteca street gang that is tied to the Juarez cartel. The Barrio Azteca is a street gang that works for the Juarez cartel on both the U.S and Mexican sides of the border. According to authorities most members of Barrillo Azteca are recruited inside U.S. prisons.
The arrest of Chávez Castillo also led to the detention of Francisco "Paco" Puga de la Torre, for allegedly participating in the murders of Enriquez and Redelfs, investigators said.
Jesús Ernesto "El Camello" Chávez Castillo
Lesley Enriquez, 34, a U.S. citizen, worked in the visa section of the U.S. consulate in Juárez. Her husband Arthur Redelfs, 36, worked as a detention officer for the El Paso County Sheriff's Office.
Also murdered that day was Jorge Alberto Salcido Ceniceros, 37, of Juárez, whose wife worked for the U.S. Consulate.
The three had left a birthday party attended by other employees of the U.S. Consulate in Juárez in separate cars when they were attacked by gunmen. Chavez told police that gunmen opened fire on Salcido because the two cars were the same color and the hit men didn't know which one Enriquez was in.
Enriquez was four months pregnant at the time of her murder. Their 7 month old daughter was found wailing on the back seat of their SUV.
Chávez Castillo told police investigators that members of the Juárez drug cartel ordered the murder of Enriquez because she facilitated passports (visas) to members of the Sinaloa cartel.
A U.S. Embassy official said there would no immediate comment on the allegation. However FBI agents dispute the claim from Mexican authorities that Enriquez was the target of the execution style murder.
FBI Special Agent Andrea Simmons said an investigation contradicted the claims from Mexico. "We have no indication that anyone who was killed was targeted because of their jobs," Simmons said.
Simmons said the FBI continues to investigate the murders, which occurred on Mexican soil.
In late March, Mexican officials arrested a suspect who claimed the target was Arthur Redelfs because he mistreated gang members at the El Paso County Jail. That suspect's name is Richard Valles de la Rosa, and he is a former Barrio Azteca gang member.
Redelfs did nothing wrong, said El Paso County Sheriff Richard Wiles.
The Juarez cartel's turf war against the Sinaloa cartel has made Ciudad Juarez one of the deadliest cities in the world. More than 2,600 people were killed last year in the city of 1.3 million people across the border from El Paso, Texas. The first six months have seen 1,370 people murdered.