Photo: Jose Antonio Acosta Hernandez
The Juarez Drug Cartel’s leader in Juarez and Chihuahua, Mexico, pleaded guilty in El Paso, Texas, and was sentenced to life in prison for his participation in drug-trafficking and numerous acts of violence in connection with the Barrio Azteca gang.
Jose Antonio Acosta-Hernandez, 34, aka “Diego,” “Dienton,” “Diez” and “Bablazo,” of Chihuahua, was extradited to the United States from Mexico on March 16, 2012. He pleaded guilty to four counts of racketeering, narcotics trafficking and money laundering. Acosta-Hernandez also pleaded guilty to seven counts of murder and weapons charges, which specifically related to the March 13, 2010, triple homicide in Juarez of U.S. Consulate employee Leslie Enriquez, her husband Arthur Redelfs and Jorge Salcido Ceniceros, the husband of another U.S. Consulate employee. I
Immediately after the guilty plea hearing, Acosta-Hernandez was sentenced to seven concurrent life terms, three additional consecutive life terms and 20 years in federal prison.
The third superseding indictment, returned on March 2, 2011, alleged that Acosta-Hernandez was an associate of the Barrio Azteca (BA), a violent street and prison gang that began in the late 1980s and expanded into a transnational criminal organization. According to information presented in court, the BA formed an alliance with “La Linea,” which is part of the Juarez Drug Cartel and is also known as the Vincente Carrillo Fuentes Drug Cartel or “VCF.” The purpose of the BA-La Linea alliance was to battle the Chapo Guzman Cartel and its allies for control of the drug trafficking routes through Juarez and Chihuahua. The drug routes through Juarez, known as the Juarez Plaza, are important to drug trafficking organizations because they are a principal illicit drug trafficking conduit into the United States.
Acosta-Hernandez admitted that he directed or participated in more than 1,500 murders since 2008.
For example, Acosta-Hernandez admitted that on Jan. 30, 2010, he ordered hit-men in his organization to kill members of the opposition that were sighted at a daytime birthday party at a home in Juarez. As part of this incident, 16 individuals were killed and 10 individuals were wounded at three different residences in Juarez. On July 15, 2010, Acosta-Hernandez directed a car bombing in Juarez that ultimately killed four people.