Thursday, June 20, 2024

Three Teens Arrested in Slaying of Cartel Informant

A Mexican drug cartel lieutenant who was cooperating with U.S. authorities was murdered by three teenagers, including a U.S. soldier. The teens have been charged with capital murder for their roles in the contract killing.
On Monday, Army Pfc. Michael Jackson Apodaca, 18, and Christopher Duran, 17, were arrested. A 16-year-old boy was arrested Wednesday; the police did not identify because of his age.

Investigators said Apodaca confessed to taking money from a mid-level cartel official to be the triggerman in the murder.

Duran, police said, told investigators he was paid to be the getaway driver and the 16-year-old was paid to provide surveillance the night of the incident. The victim was Jose Daniel Gonzalez Galeana, 37, whom was shot eight times in front of his home in El Paso on May 15. He is believed to be the first ranking cartel member to be killed in the United States.

Police said that Ruben Rodriguez Dorado, a mid-level cartel official and informant for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), hired the teens and arranged the killing. He is currently in custody facing murder charges.

A warrant has been issued for cartel lieutenant Jesus Aguayo Salas, who El Paso Police Chief Greg Allen said ordered and funded the killing. He is also being charged with capital murder.

Gonzalez was targeted after vanishing from Mexico following the arrest of another cartel leader and a raid on a cartel warehouse in Mexico. Allen said that the murder was motivated by suspicions that Gonzalez was either an informant or had trade alliances with rival drug gangs.

Allen confirmed on Tuesday that Gonzalez was in fact an informant working for ICE and was living legally in the U.S. on a visa issued to him by ICE.

Rodriguez, Apodaca and Duran are being held with $1-million bail each on the murder charges. The 16-year-old was being held by juvenile authorities and it will be determined later if he will be charged as an adult.

LA Times