JUAREZ, Mexico (Border Report) — Mexican authorities are focusing on a criminal group known as “La Empresa” as they try to figure out who has murdered at least six men in the past two weeks and cut their bodies into pieces.
Police found the latest dismembered body early Wednesday on the streets of the working-class Lucio Blanco II neighborhood in southeast Juarez. Officials found a backpack and trash bags containing what one investigator described as “chopped arms and legs.”
This was the fourth set of dismembered human bodies Juarez police have found just in the past three days. In mid-August, police had arrested two men ages 23 and 18 and a woman who were allegedly transporting two dismembered bodies for disposal in the Valle del Bravo neighborhood, also in the southeast.
“Our intelligence unit is working to determine if a ‘safe house’ is being operated in the area. They are working to corroborate a link between these cases of extreme violence and if there is a link to the detainees from two weeks ago,” Chihuahua Deputy Attorney General Jorge Nava said.
In this case, a “safe house” is a residence or a business where members of a criminal gang store drugs, weapons or abducted rivals.
Nava said the criminal organization “La Empresa” (The Business) has been known to operate in the sector where the dismembered remains have been located and has been linked to similar incidents in the past. Mexican organized crime gangs often try to terrorize other groups by killing off rivals and beheading, dismembering or dressing the bodies in women’s clothes, police officials said. Such remains are usually left in public places or abandoned on city streets.
Nava says that most Juarez murders, particularly those that involve extreme use of violence — such as multiple shots, torture and dismemberment — usually are related to drug trafficking or drug sales.
Since the early 2000s, when the U.S. stepped up border security after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, a lot of drugs that previously would be taken to the United States are now being consumed in Mexico, Nava and other law-enforcement sources have told KTSM. Drug-trafficking groups have been so aggressive in peddling their product in Juarez neighborhoods that now authorities estimate the population of drug addicts in the city at more than 100,000.
Body found in desert could be missing El Pasoan
Nava on Wednesday confirmed that Mexican authorities are trying to determine if a body found inside an abandoned pickup truck in the desert south of Juarez is that of an American citizen abducted from the scene of a shootout that claimed the lives of another man and three young girls last month.
The truck in which the body was found matches the description of one of the two vehicles where as many as five gunmen arrived at the ranch and fired over 100 bullets, killing the girls, their uncle and abducting Jose Francisco Quezada Espinoza. Nava said that if forensic tests point to the body being Quezada’s, DNA tests would follow.
The police official said the gunmen were after someone else at the ranch whom they blamed for the murder of one of their companions, a man only identified by his alias of “El Dengue.” An arrest warrant has been issued for one of the triggermen, but he hasn’t been arrested, Nava said.