Nine suspects now being held in sister city cop murder case
Mexican authorities say they have now detained nine people in connection with the murder of two police officers in Nogales, Sonora.
The suspects, who include eight men and woman ranging in age from 21 to 46, are all drug traffickers from the state of Sinaloa, the Sonora State Investigative Police (PEI) said Wednesday.
On Tuesday, the PEI said it had arrested seven people for the murder of Raúl Suárez Gabriel, 35, and Faustino Gil Castelo, 41, but did not release any information about them.
Suárez Gabriel was the deputy police chief in Nogales, Sonora and Gil Castelo was a member of the PEI stationed in the border city. The officers reportedly went to a home in the Luis Donaldo Colosio neighborhood early Sunday morning in search of 40-year-old Laureano García Arellanes, alias “El Popeye” or “El Prisciliano,” who was wanted for murder in Sinaloa.
After the officers located García Arellanes outside the home, the PEI said, a group of people rushed from the house and shot them repeatedly. The men then took the policemen’s bodies approximately 40 miles south and dumped them at a hillside mine outside the city of Imuris.
The PEI said that following the murders it detained seven of the suspects, who confessed to their involvement and led them to the bodies on Monday night. The agency did not say how or when it detained the original seven suspects, or the two additional detainees added to the list Wednesday.
García Arellanes was among the suspects named in Wednesday’s news release, and a mug shot shows him with his head wrapped in a bandage and blood stains on his shirt.
In addition to the suspects, the PEI said it seized four guns as evidence: two 9 mm pistols, a .380-caliber pistol and a .22-gauge rifle. It also seized seven vehicles, including a gold-colored Mercedes Benz with Arizona license plates.
Suárez Gabriel was named deputy police chief of Nogales, Sonora in late August 2010, joining the municipal force at the same time as Chief Luis Manuel Lugo Duron.
Lugo Duron was appointed to replace former chief Miguel Angel Vasquez, who abruptly resigned on Aug. 13, 2010 after only 255 days on the job, citing health problems. Vasquez’s deputy chief Adalberto Padilla Molina – Suárez Gabriel’s predecesor – was gunned down along with a bodyguard outside a Nogales, Sonora shopping center in March 2010.