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on the border line between the US and Mexico

Sunday, January 8, 2012

'Family Friend' Accused of Aiding Cartel Hit Squad

'Family friend' accused of aiding cartel hit squad in Juárez wedding party target

By Daniel Borunda
El Paso Times
A man described as a family friend faces charges for allegedly identifying a New Mexico bridegroom and his relatives to a cartel hit squad before they were abducted during a wedding and then tortured and killed in Juárez.

Gonzalo Delgado Chavez, 22, was allegedly paid $1,000 to identify members of the Morales family from La Mesa, N.M., to a hit squad in 2010, according to court documents.

The slayings were among the more brazen acts of violence since a drug war erupted between the Juárez and Sinaloa drug cartels in 2008.

Delgado, who is in custody, was indicted in September on a charge of conspiracy to kill in a foreign country. He made a routine courtroom appearance Friday in U.S. District Court in El Paso.

Bridegroom Rafael Morales Valencia, 29, his brother, Jaime Morales Valencia, 25, and their uncle, Guadalupe Morales Arreola, 51, were kidnapped by gunmen who burst in at the conclusion of the wedding ceremony at Señor de la Misericordia Catholic church.

Another man, Alonso Sotelo Corral, was fatally shot in the church parking lot as he ran away or tried to intervene during the abduction on May 7, 2010.

Three days later, the bodies of the kidnapped men were found in the bed of a pickup in Juárez. The men appeared to have been tortured.

Rafael Morales was a U.S. citizen, his brother was a legal permanent resident, and their uncle was a Mexican citizen with a visa, stated a criminal complaint filed by a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent.

Relatives had said the victims were from La Mesa in Doña Ana County. The family is originally from the city of Namiquipa in the central part of Chihuahua, but the brothers grew up in the United States.

The father of Rafael and Jaime Morales had said the wedding took place in Juárez because that is where the bride was raised. She is a U.S. citizen.

According to the criminal complaint by the DEA, Delgado was also from Namiquipa, knew the victims and was supposed to be an usher at the wedding. Delgado is a legal U.S. resident.

The document, citing informants (unnamed cooperating defendants), alleged that Delgado was a drug smuggler for the Sinaloa cartel and was hired in El Paso by a man named Irving Enriquez to point out the victims at the wedding.

The document stated the victims were reportedly targeted because they were affiliated with the Juárez cartel.

One of the unnamed informants is described in documents as a member of the Sinaloa cartel who had been in charge of a "hit team" in Juárez and worked directly for Jose Antonio Torres Marrufo.

Torres has been identified in court cases as the reputed top boss in Juárez of the group known as the "Gente Nueva" of the Sinaloa cartel.

The documents stated that informants told the DEA that Torres ordered the kidnapping at the wedding, interrogated the men and then gave the final order to have them killed.

Other documents reveal that Delgado was arrested after being stopped March 16 at the Santa Teresa border crossing. U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers allegedly found 38 kilos of marijuana hidden in a car Delgado was driving. Delgado allegedly confessed that he was to be paid $2,800 for driving the load from Juárez to El Paso. He was sentenced to a year in prison as part of a plea agreement.

Federal agents also arrested Enriquez in March after he allegedly bought a cache of firearms in a deal in the parking lot of the Love's truck stop west of Las Cruces.

A criminal complaint filed by the FBI alleged Enriquez ordered 20 automatic AK-47s, 10 9-mm pistols and 10 .308 rifles. The gun sellers turned out to be undercover agents. All 40 weapons were recovered.


  1. I'm from La Mesa. This hurts so much more when you know that fellow citizens aren't safe in this country.

  2. Note to self: Don't have a wedding in Juarez during a cartel war...

  3. pretty unbelievable for the land of the unbelievable.

  4. Your best friend in this world can be your worst enemy when it comes to drugs.

  5. all for 1,000 dollars wonder how far that got him

  6. Much more to this story than we are being told...

  7. A thousand dollars! What a stinking snake. I hope they put that rat in a cell with the devil himself.

  8. I was very interested in this story as my friend knew the deseased personally and had given me a little more background on the family.Namiquia was a very troubled town during the drug war. You couldnt even drive without getting pulled over by a 16 year old with an AK-47 on a stolen truck with Texas license plates..... there were mass killings and gun fights when this all started that were never reported. A group of hit men entered the town and picked up the leader of the Juarez cartel which was a known rapist by the way.. and cut him into pieces. The next day there was a massive gun battle between sinaloa cartel and Juarez cartel.. 30+ people found dead and never saw the story reported. As far as i know it is back to business as usual in this town. Mass production of marijuana.

  9. @6:25 you say, "Namiquia was a very troubled town during the drug war."
    You mean it has calmed down now as opposed to earlier? Or you consider the drug war is over now compared to then in Namiquia?

  10. Friends are always just unripened enemys

  11. Well it seems like everything is business as usual now. It is still dangerous for me to go out there as Gente Nueva get very nervous when new or unknown individuals enter the town. Now, Namiquipa is primarily Gente Nueva. Business as usual. While the fighting was still going on, marijuana growers were out of business in this area as you would get killed if you sold to the opposite cartel. This town is known for marijuana growing. Most income generated by this town comes from the marijuana now sold to CDS. There are dozens of stolen diesel trucks buried in areas in this town waiting to be unearthed once military leaves.

  12. @ January 10, 2012 3:11 AM .Good comments man,dudes who live in the towns and cities can tell it like it is,whats goin on and such.Keep it up man.

  13. las cosas no son como las cuentan son aun peor, yo soy de namiquipa y el gobierno no hace nada por sus pueblos ni por la gente buena que vive ahi... somos victimas de la violencia porque no podemos hacer nada solo esperar a que unos cuantos armados decidan por nosotros

  14. Todo esto no es cierto.. ya no hayan que sacar...

  15. Lo que pasa es que Irving ya no supo a quien embarrar y no encontro a otro menso. Irving se vio muy adentro y simplemente no se quiso ir solo. Idiota.


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