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DEA source testifies at consulate trial on network Juarez cartel used

Feb. 11, 2014 at 11:34 AM   |   Comments

EL PASO, Texas, Feb. 11 (UPI) -- A telecom expert at a trial on three deaths related to a U.S. Consulate in Mexico testified about a radio network the Juarez cartel used to relay orders.

The government witness, identified only as "E.Q.," testified during the federal trial of Arturo Gallegos Castrellon in El Paso that he became a paid informant for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and used DEA funds to help buy the radio equipment, the El Paso Times reported Tuesday.

Gallegos, an alleged Barrio Azteca leader, pleaded innocent to various charges, including his alleged involvement in the March 2010 killing of three people with ties to the U.S. Consulate in Juarez.

The telecommunications expert testified Monday he was rebuffed by the Mexican Federal Attorney General's Office first and then the Mexican Army concerning the secure radio network he set up and which Barrio Azteca and La Linea members used in 2010 to relay orders to kill and abduct people, burn houses, transport drugs and firearms, and set up a car bomb.

Gallegos is on trial in the shooting deaths of detention officer Arthur Redelfs, his wife Lesley Ann Enriquez Redelfs, who worked at the U.S. Consulate in Juarez, and the death of Jorge Salcido Ceniceros, husband of Hilda Salcido, who also worked at the consulate. The three were killed while traveling.

Beginning in May 2010, "E.Q." testified, he set up the radio network that had a new digital technology that made it hard for regular scanners to pick up calls. He testified that he listened to about 7,000 hours of radio communications, both live and recorded, that involved La Linea, the enforcement arm of the Carrillo Fuentes drug cartel, and Barrio Azteca members, the Times said.

Government prosecutors have accused Gallegos and other gang members of participating in high-scale violence in Juarez as part of a cartel's plan to gain control.

The defense has indicated it would argue that officials could have prevented the deadly attacks and that Mexican officers tortured Gallegos before they provided the FBI a written confession.

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