MARCH 21 (EL PASO, Texas) - In El Paso, 23-year old Gonzalo Delgado-Chavez of Namiquipa, Chihuahua, Mexico, was sentenced to 262 months in federal prison for his role in the kidnapping and murder of three individuals during a wedding ceremony in Juarez, Mexico in May of 2010 announced United States Attorney Robert Pitman, Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Joseph M. Arabit, El Paso Division and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge Carol Lee, Albuquerque Division.
In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Judge David Briones ordered that Delgado be placed under supervised release for a period of five years after completing his prison term. He was also ordered to pay a $2,000 fine.
On October 18, 2012, Delgado pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit murder on foreign soil. By pleading guilty, Delgado admitted that he and co-defendant, 25-year-old Irvin Enriquez, were responsible for the kidnapping and subsequent murder of the groom, Rafael Morales-Valencia, a U.S. citizen, his brother and best man, Jaime Morales-Valencia, a legal Permanent Resident Alien, and their uncle, Guadalupe Morales-Arreola, a B1/B2 visa holder and citizen of Mexico during the ceremony on May 7, 2010, at El Senor de la Misericordia Catholica church in Juarez.
According to statements provided at sentencing, on April 10, 2010, assassins working for the Vicente Carrillo Fuentes drug trafficking organization, “La Linea,” murdered Enriquez’s father based on his association with the Sinaloa Cartel. Based on the false belief that the victims were part of La Linea and that Guadalupe Morales-Arreola worked for the person responsible for his father’s death, Enriquez solicited the assistance of Jose Antonio Torres-Marrufo and his purported team of assassins to exact revenge. Delgado admitted that he traveled from El Paso to Juarez at the request of Enriquez and identified the victims for Torres-Marrufo’s assassins.
On February 28, 2013, Judge Briones sentenced Enriquez to 30 years in federal prison followed by five years of supervised release and ordered that Enriquez pay a $2,000 fine. Enriquez pleaded guilty to the charge of conspiracy to kill in a foreign country on November 9, 2012. By pleading guilty, Enriquez admitted to conspiring with Delgado and others to assist co-conspirators in the kidnapping and murder plot.
“Violent acts carried out on behalf of drug trafficking organizations affect citizens on both sides of the border. Because the safety of our communities is our top priority, DEA and its law enforcement partners remain steadfast in our pursuit of those responsible for the trafficking of illegal drugs throughout the region as well as related violence in neighboring Ciudad Juarez,” stated Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Joseph M. Arabit, El Paso Division.
“The prosecution and punishment of Mr. Delgado-Chavez highlights our commitment to use every means to track down and hold accountable those perpetuate the horrifying cycle of violence associated with drug trafficking, both in this country and in Mexico,” stated U.S. Attorney Robert Pitman.
“This multi-agency investigation dealt a significant blow to the violent Sinaloa drug trafficking organization and has made our communities safer. This investigation and prosecution were very important to the families of the victims from the State of New Mexico. They deserved justice for the loss of their loved ones. I would like to thank the many agencies that assisted the FBI's Las Cruces Southwest Border Hybrid Squad in this investigation, especially the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Las Cruces-Dona Aña Metro Narcotics Task Force,” stated Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge Carol Lee, Albuquerque Division.
U.S. Attorney Pitman also expressed his appreciation to U.S. Attorney Kenneth Gonzalez and the District of New Mexico for their assistance in this prosecution as well as to the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for their investigation.