2 members of the Barrio Azteca gang were convicted in 2010 murders linked to US Consulate

The Barrio Azteca, or Los Aztecas, is a Mexican-American street, and prison gang originally based in El Paso, Texas. The gang was formed in the jails of El Paso in 1986 and expanded into a transnational criminal organization.

A federal jury Thursday convicted two members of the Barrio Azteca gang on all counts related to the murders of a U.S. Consulate employee, her husband and the husband of another U.S. Consulate employee, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Friday.

Jose “Zorro” Guadalupe Diaz Diaz, 43, and Martin “Popeye” Artin Perez Marrufo, 54, both from Chihuahua, Mexico, was found guilty in a 13-day jury trial before U.S. District Judge Kathleen Cardone in federal court in El Paso.

Sentencing is set for May 9. Diaz and Maruffo face a mandatory minimum sentence of life in prison.

Diaz was extradited from Mexico on Nov. 13, 2019, and Maruffo was extradited from Mexico on Jan. 18, 2020. The U.S. Justice Department said that the extraditions were the result of coordination between U.S. and Mexican law enforcement, who also cooperated in the investigation and prosecution of the case.

The jury found Diaz and Marrufo guilty of conspiracy counts for racketeering, narcotics trafficking, narcotics importation, money laundering, and murder in a foreign country; three counts of murder in aid of racketeering; and three counts of murder resulting from the use and carrying of a firearm during and in relation to crimes of violence and drug trafficking.

Evidence presented at trial showed that on March 13, 2010, Diaz and Marrufo were the gunmen in the hit teams that killed U.S. Consulate employee Leslie Enriquez, her husband, El Paso County Sheriff’s Office Detention Officer Arthur Redelfs, and Jorge Salcido Ceniceros, the husband of another U.S. Consulate employee.

They were targeted after they were mistaken for rival gang members after leaving a child’s birthday party in Juárez. Diaz shot and killed Enriquez and Redelfs; Marrufo shot and killed Ceniceros.

“The murders of Leslie Enriquez, Arthur Redelfs, and Jorge Salcido Ceniceros are a tragedy,” Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division said in a news release. “These convictions demonstrate the department’s commitment to combating violent transnational criminal organizations. I want to thank the Mexican government for its cooperation including extraditing both defendants to the United States to face criminal charges.”

Source: El Paso Times

The Chihuahua Post