Group Arrested in Valley of Juarez Spills Details of Activities
According to a piece in the El Paso Times, $40 a week is the going rate to watch the roads in the Valley of Juárez for Police, the Mexican army or unfamiliar vehicles from a rival drug cartel. It is also the price paid for carrying out kidnappings and murders.
This group of not-so-savvy individuals, aged 14 – 34, were arrested by the Mexican army last week, all accused of belonging to a cell of the Sinaloa drug cartel.
Authorities were able to learn about the operations of the cell in interviews with 10 suspects, including a detailed 16-page account provided to the press. Of the 10 talking suspects, five were 17 years of age or younger.
"It didn't matter what jale (job) we did. The pay was the same for sicarios (hit men) and campanas (lookouts)," Javier González "El Happy" Oropeza, 29, told investigators, according to the authorities.
Mexican federal authorities, along with the attorney general’s office, claimed the cell worked for Sinaloa drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman and is suspected in the deaths of three unidentified men found in a mass grave.
The Juárez drug cartel, also known as La Linea, has been at war with the Sinaloa cartel over control of drug trafficking in the region. The U.S. Consulate in Juárez issued a warning for U.S. citizens to stay out of the Valley of Juárez due to escalating violence.
While Mexican authorities allege that Fernando “El Popeye” González Ordaz ran the San Isidro cell. Ordaz was among the group arrested and supposedly worked for Gabino Salas Valenciano, also known as “El Ingeniero” (the engineer). It is not yet known if Salas is in custody.