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Gang Members Charged With Consulate Employee Murder


Federal prosecutors have charged 10 members of the Barrio Azteca gang with the murders of a U.S. consulate employee and her husband. The daytime killings in Ciudad Juarez represented a new level of violence against American officials and their families.

NPR's Carrie Johnson has the story.

CARRIE JOHNSON: The Barrio Azteca gang came together in prisons in the 1980s. But since then, FBI Assistant Director Shawn Henry says it's branched out all over the world.

Mr. SHAWN HENRY (Assistant Director, FBI): Its members have committed unspeakable acts of violence, terrorized communities on both sides of the border and murdered the innocent.

JOHNSON: Innocent people, such as American consular worker Leslie Ann Enriquez Catton and her husband. They were shot dead in their vehicle in March 2010, while their baby cried in the backseat. Around the same time, the husband of another U.S. consulate employee died in his car from bullet wounds.

Prosecutors accuse 10 members of Barrio Azteca with involvement in those three murders. Seven of the men are in custody in Mexico. Authorities are working to send them to the U.S.

Justice Department official Lanny Breuer signed off on the criminal charges.

Mr. LANNY BREUER (Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division, Department of Justice): The indictment offers a chilling picture of how a highly organized and extremely violent gang collected taxes to pay bail bonds, discussed shipping routes to carry large quantities of drugs, illegal drugs across the border, and orchestrated leadership changes at the barrel of a gun.

JOHNSON: The FBI is still looking for Eduardo Ravelo. They think he was involved in those murders. He's one of the FBI's 10 most wanted fugitives, and authorities are offering a $100,000 reward for information.

Carrie Johnson, NPR News, Washington. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Carrie Johnson is a justice correspondent for the Washington Desk.