U.S. and Mexican authorities say a gang working for the Juárez drug cartel appears to be responsible for the killings of three people linked to the U.S. Consulate in Ciudad Juárez, according to a suspect arrested in connection with the crime, Mexican authorities said.
Ricardo Valles de la Rosa, a member of a gang called the Barrio Azteca, told investigators he was involved in the crime by helping to follow one of the victim’s cars, according to a statement released late Tuesday by the state government of Chihuahua, where Ciudad Juárez is located.
On March 13, Lesley Enríquez, a U.S. Consulate employee, and her husband Arthur Redelfs, a detention officer with the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, were gunned down in their white SUV after being chased through Ciudad Juarez’s streets by another vehicle.
Within minutes of the killing, gunmen also chased down and killed Jorge Alberto Salcido, a factory manager who was also married to a consular employee and driving a similar car.
According to the statement, Mr. Valles said he followed a white SUV with Ms. Enríquez and Mr. Redelfs that was leaving a children’s birthday party. Before arriving at the spot where the couple was to be attacked, authorities say Mr. Valles said he was ordered to pull back. He then heard shots and later passed by the spot where the couple had been shot.
If the information is accurate, it could provide Mexican investigators with their first major lead in solving the killings in Ciudad Juárez, where nearly 600 people have been killed since January, and where solving homicides is rare.
Mexican investigators are under increasing pressure to solve the case, which has drawn condemnations from leaders on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border.
The statement said Mr. Valles de la Rosa was being held for the March 13 deaths, along with four other homicides of rivals from the Mexicles and Artistic Assasins gangs, but it didn’t say whether he had been formally charged.
F.B.I. spokeswoman Andrea Simmons said U.S. investigators had no comment on the development, but that the bureau was continuing to work with Mexican authorities