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Pair get life in prison for killing U.S. consulate worker and 2 others after mistaking them for members of rival gang

The victims were returning home from a children’s birthday party when they were mistakenly targeted and killed by two gunmen with the Barrio Azteca gang, authorities said.
/ Source: Associated Press

EL PASO, Texas — Two gunmen with the Barrio Azteca gang were sentenced to life imprisonment Monday for killing a U.S. consulate worker, her husband and the husband of another consulate worker in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, officials said.

The pair had been found guilty by a federal jury in February of the fatal March 2010 shootings of consulate worker Lesley Enriquez, her husband Arthur Redelfs, an El Paso County jailer, and Jorge Salcido Ceniceros. Both were sentenced Monday in El Paso, according to a U.S. Attorney’s Office statement.

The U.S. national flag at half-mast at the entrance of the consulate of the United States in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua state, Mexico on March 15, 2010 after attacks on U.S. consular staff and their families that left three dead.
The U.S. flag at half-staff at the entrance of the U.S. Consulate in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, on March 15, 2010, after attacks on consular staff members and their families that left three people dead.Jesus Alcazar / AFP via Getty Images file

The victims were returning home from a children’s birthday party when they were mistakenly targeted and killed.

Trial evidence showed that Jose Guadalupe Diaz Diaz and Martin Artin Perez Marrufo, both of Chihuahua, Mexico, served as the hit team that killed the three on March 13, 2010, after initially mistaking them for members of a rival gang, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office statement.

According to the same statement, “Barrio Azteca is a transnational criminal organization engaged in, among other things, money laundering, racketeering, and drug-related activities in El Paso, Texas, among other places.”

The gang joined with other drug gangs to battle the Sinaloa Cartel, at the time headed by Joaquín ‘Chapo’ Guzman, and its allies for control of the drug trafficking routes through Juarez, according to the statement.

The drug routes through Juarez, which is situated across the border from El Paso, are important to drug trafficking organizations because it is a principal illicit drug trafficking route into the United States, federal officials said.