Thirty-five (35) members and associates of the Barrio Azteca (BA) gang were charged today with a number of offenses including racketeering, murder, drug offenses, money laundering and obstruction of justice.  Ten (10) Of the thirty-five (35) defendants were Mexican nationals charged with the murders of U.S. Consulate employee Leslie Ann Enriquez Catton, her husband Arthur Redelfs and Jorge Alberto Salcido Ceniceros, the husband of a U.S. Consulate employee, in Juarez, Mexico last year. These parties have been charged in the Western District of Texas.

As part of the unsealing of this indictment, twelve (12) of the charged individuals were arrested.  Seven of the (10) defendants charged with the March 13, 2010 murders, and two other indicted defendants, are already in custody in Mexico currently facing extradition to the United States.

According to the indictment, these defendants are members or associates of the BA, which began as a violent prison gang and has expanded into a transnational criminal organization. Although BA is primarily based in West Texas and Juarez, Mexico, it is believed that their members can be found throughout state and federal prisons in the United States and Mexico. The gang is accused of having a military like command structure through which it directs its drug trafficking, money laundering, extortion, intimidation, violence, threats of violence and murderous activities.

According to the indictment, the BA allegedly has formed an alliance with the Vicente Carrillo-Fuentes organization and carries out enforcement operations for that organization in exchange for discounted narcotics. Currently, the United States has filed provisional arrest warrants with the government of Mexico for arrests in connection with this case.

The indictment alleges that the BA is involved in the importation of heroin, cocaine and marijuana into the United States from Mexico.  It is important to keep in mind that an indictment is merely an accusation. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty at trial beyond a reasonable doubt.

The author of this blog is Erich Ferrari, an attorney specializing in Federal Criminal Defense matters. If you have any questions please contact him at 202-280-6370 or ferrari@ferrari-legal.com.

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