Thank you, Attorney General Holder.
Today’s charges mark a pivotal moment in our ongoing investigation into the senseless murders of three innocent victims. Last March, Leslie Ann Enriquez Catton, Arthur Redelfs and Jorge Alberto Salcido Ceniceros were mercilessly gunned down in Ciudad Juarez. They were – like so many other innocent victims of the Mexican drug wars – caught in the crosshairs of a violent criminal enterprise.
From the very first day of this investigation, prosecutors from the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in El Paso have worked around-the-clock with our law enforcement partners in Mexico and the United States to find those responsible for these heinous crimes and bring them to justice.
Today, we allege, we have got them.
Having zeroed in on the Barrio Azteca criminal enterprise, we are today unsealing charges against not only the members who allegedly participated in these tragic murders, but also against dozens of BA leaders, members and associates located in Mexico and the United States.
The indictment offers a chilling picture of a highly organized and extremely violent gang – collecting taxes to pay for bail bonds, discussing shipping routes to carry large quantities of illegal drugs across our borders, and orchestrating leadership changes at the barrel of a gun.
In this case, we have had unparalleled cooperation and assistance from our Mexican partners – in particular, from two of Mexico’s Deputy Attorneys General, Marisela Morales, who is here with us today, and Jorge Lara. As Assistant Attorney General of the Criminal Division, I have worked closely with both Marisela and Jorge, and I want to recognize them for their dedication to our mutual goal of ensuring that communities on both sides of the border remain safe.
I also want to personally thank the prosecutors, agents and officers who have worked tirelessly – and with great personal sacrifice – on the investigation that has resulted in today’s charges. We are lucky to have such dedicated public servants on our team. I want to, in particular, commend Deputy Assistant Attorney General Jason Weinstein, Deputy Chief Jim Trusty, and Trial Attorneys Joe Cooley and Brian Skaret.
Finally, let me emphasize that this fight is not over. We are in this for the long haul. We will continue to use every tool at our disposal to hold accountable the violent criminal gangs that have been terrorizing border communities. This is, at times, a gruesome battle. But make no mistake – we will not stop, and we are not going away.
Thank you. Now let me turn it over to FBI Executive Assistant Director Shawn Henry.