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Mexican mobster gets life sentence for murdering U.S. consulate worker

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A Mexican crime gang lieutenant, who directed his underlings to kill a U.S. consulate employee and two other Americans in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, will spend the rest of his life in federal prison, according to the U.S. Department of Justice on Thursday.

Arturo Gallegos Castrellon -- a/k/a, “Benny,” a/k/a “Farmero,” a/k/a “51,” a/k/a “Guero,” a/k/a “Pecas,” a/k/a “Tury,” a/k/a “86,” -- the 35-year-old lieutenant of a major organized crime gang, had been convicted of murder, drug trafficking and money laundering by a federal jury in February. Besides the life sentence, U.S. District Judge Kathleen Cardone ordered Castrellon to pay more than $1.5 million -- $998,840 in restitution and $785,500 in forfeiture.

One of the leaders of a Mexico-based drug gang known as the Barrio Azteca, Castrellon had been extradited to the United States more than 24-months-ago for the 2010 murder of a U.S. State Department worker named Leslie Ann Enriquez, her husband and the husband of another consulate employee.

The three victims were followed by Barrio Azteca gang members after they left a children's party to drive home. The three victims were killed in separate attacks on their automobiles. Ms. Enriquez was expecting a baby at the time of her assassination by the mobsters.

Evidence presented during his trial revealed that Gallegos Castrellon headed a "crew" of assassins, whom he helped create and directed between 2008 and 2010. The prosecution proved that Castrellon's assassins murdered up to 800 persons between January and August 2010, with a total reaching close to 1,600 deaths in a multi-year period. The drug routes through Juarez, which is known as the Juarez Plaza, are important to drug trafficking organizations because it is a principal illicit drug trafficking route into the United States.

According to Thursday's Justice Department statement, DEA administrator Michele Leonhart said: "The DEA is committed to ensuring cold-blooded criminals, like Arturo Gallegos Castrellon, who murder innocent victims, traffic huge amounts of drugs worldwide, and incite violence are taken off the street and remain behind bars."

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