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Texas jury convicts Mexican gang members for 2010 murder of U.S. consulate employee

By Adam Schrader
Texas jury convicts Mexican gang members for 2010 murder of U.S. consulate employee
U.S. authorities participate in the funeral service of Leslie Enríquez, an employee of the U.S. Consulate in Ciudad Juarez and her husband Arthur Redelfs, a police officer of the Sheriff Office of El Paso, Texas in 2010. File Photo by Ignacio Ruíz/EPA

Feb. 4 (UPI) -- A federal jury in Texas on Friday convicted two members of Barrio Azteca, a violent Mexican street gang, for the 2010 murders of a pregnant U.S. Consulate employee, her husband, and the husband of another consulate employee.

Leslie Enriquez was shot dead in her SUV after leaving a child's birthday party at the consulate in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, in 2010 after they were mistaken for rival gang members, the Justice Department said in a news release announcing the conviction.

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Enriquez, 35, was pregnant and her daughter was in the backseat of the vehicle, CNN reported at the time. Her husband, Arthur Redelfs, and the husband of another consulate employee, Jorge Salcido Ceniceros, were also shot dead in the ambush.

Jose Guadalupe Diaz Diaz, 43, was found guilty of killing Enriquez and her husband while Martin Artin Perez Marrufo, 54, was found guilty of killing Cinceros, prosecutors said.

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The gang members were found guilty on a number of charges including three counts of murder in aid of racketeering and three counts of murder resulting from use and carrying of a firearm during and in relation to crimes of violence and drug trafficking.

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They were also convicted for charges including narcotics trafficking, narcotics importation, money laundering and murder in a foreign country.

Diaz, nicknamed Zorro, and Marrufo, nicknamed Popeye, had been arrested by Mexican law enforcement and extradited to the U.S. in 2019 and 2020 respectively. They each face a mandatory minimum sentence of life in prison.

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"These convictions represent the FBI's commitment to take aggressive action against anyone who takes the lives of innocent American citizens," said Assistant Director Luis Quesada of the FBI's Criminal Investigative Division. "Even the most ruthless criminals, whether here or afar, cannot evade justice, and we will continue to hold those accountable who commit brutal acts of violence."

Ken Salazar, the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, tweeted after the verdict was reached.

"This sends the message loud and clear that we will make the criminals pay and that we will never forget the victims," he said.

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