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Mexican gang member convicted of grisly death of U.S. consulate worker

Arturo Gallegos Castrellon
Arturo Gallegos

On Friday, Arturo Gallegos Castrellon, 35 was found guilty in a federal courtroom in El Paso of three counts of murder for ordering the killing of Leslie Ann Enriquez Catton, a U.S. consulate worker, her husband and Jorge Alberto Salcido Ceniceros, the husband of a U.S. consulate employee.

The three were gunned down in coordinated attacks March 20, 2010, in the violent city of Juarez.

Castrellon, a high-ranking member of the Barrio Azteca gang, was also convicted on eight other charges, including money laundering, racketeering and conspiracy to distribute controlled substances.

Gallegos was extradited from Mexico in 2012.

Fellow gang member, turned-government witness, Jesus Ernesto "Camello" Chavez Castillo testified during the trial that leaders of Barrio Azteca believed that someone inside the U.S. consulate office was actually assisting the rival Sinaloa drug cartel, by giving out travel visas to Sinaloa members.

Borderland Beat reported:

Chavez said the reason they suspected this was because people in El Paso were seemingly able to buy drugs at cheaper prices than the prices that the Barrio Azteca gang offered. The gang leaders tried to investigate but their investigation did not lead to any answers, Chavez testified.

Chavez testified that he oversaw a group of hit squads that were responsible for killing more than 2,000 people in Juárez during the drug cartel wars between the Carrillo Fuentes organization, which was allied with the Barrio Azteca gang, and the Sinaloa drug cartel led by Joaquin "Chapo" Guzman, which had other gang allies. Chavez said his part in the violence ended with his arrest in July 2010.

Gallegos faces up to life in prison, when he is sentenced on April 24.

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