Authorities in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, arrested eight hitmen for Los Aztecas suspected in 16 cartel assassinations in the last three months. The 58-year-old male accused of leading the cell was also captured.
State authorities announced the arrest of the eight gang members responsible for the murder spree that occurred from October 19 to December 20. The arrests took place in two separate operations. In the first incident, municipal police stopped a stolen SUV with six suspects. Police located and seized an AR-15 rifle along with three handguns and marijuana packaged for street sales. Identified in this group was an individual identified as “Angel N.L.”, 27, the alleged chief hitman. A homicide warrant was issued for him on November 27.
Investigators said that the suspects admitted to being part of a cell that allegedly targeted rivals involved in street-level-drug sales—the Mexicles and Artistas Asesinos street gangs. Los Aztecas carry out executions, kidnappings, extortion, and control the drug trade for La Linea, who are the armed wing of the Juarez Cartel. Los Mexicles and Artistas Asesinos are aligned with cells from the Sinaloa Cartel.
Police said the Aztecas crew were allegedly en route to kill three women and a Mexicles member dealing on their turf.
Based on intelligence information gathered after arresting and speaking with the original six arrested gang members, the municipal police conducted a second operation in which they located three more Aztecas, including the 58-year-old accused of being the leader of the cell in southeastern Juarez. The leader was identified as Jaime P.A. aka “El Cangrejo” or “the crab”. Cangrejo was also found traveling in a stolen truck and in possession of heroin doses packed for street distribution.
Police said that El Cangrejo allegedly ran operations for the bi-national gang and was involved in 16 murders, local news reported.
Breitbart Texas contacted law enforcement sources in Mexico and learned that as a result of the arrests of the eight Los Azteca members, information was developed as to the identity of another suspect involved in the murder that occurred at a barber shop on December 12. This suspect, later identified as Jose Eduardo R.A., 30, was also arrested.
Robert Arce is a retired Phoenix Police detective with extensive experience working Mexican organized crime and street gangs. Arce has worked in the Balkans, Iraq, Haiti, and recently completed a three-year assignment in Monterrey, Mexico, working out of the Consulate for the United States Department of State, International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Program, where he was the Regional Program Manager for Northeast Mexico (Coahuila, Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon, Durango, San Luis Potosi, Zacatecas.)