EL PASO, Texas – The ongoing trial of a man accused of killing three U.S. Consulate workers and family members in Juarez is revealing the shocking depravity of one of Mexico’s most violent gangs, including the charge that it had a daily murder quota calibrated to instill fear in police and the public.
Jesus Ernesto Chavez Castillo, a star witness in the murder trial of Arturo Gallegos Castrellon, told jurors in an El Paso federal courtroom how the Barrio Azteca Gang Catrellon grew from a Texas jail gang into contract killers for the notorious Juarez cartel. Thousands of murders committed by the gang over a four-year period helped Juarez earn the dubious title of “Murder Capital of the World.”
Chavez testified he stopped counting the number of people he killed at 800, and said he often beheaded and dismembered victims to impress his boss. The idea was “that it would be big news,” he said.
“I feel I did the right thing, since I did so much wrong,” Chavez said in court, explaining why he was now testifying against his former boss.
Castrellon is accused of ordering the March 13, 2010, shootings of Lesley Enriquez, her husband, El Paso County Sheriff’s Officer Arthur Redfels, and Jorge Alberto Salcido Ceniceros, husband of another consulate employee. Earlier this month, an FBI agent and another former gang member testified that the shootings may have been a case of mistaken identity.
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