A Barrio Azteca gang lieutenant was sentenced this week to life in prison for his participation in a racketeering and drug trafficking conspiracy, and murder, according to officials.
U.S. District Judge Kathleen Cardone sentenced Ricardo Valles De La Rosa, aka Chino, 52, of El Paso, to life in prison.
Vallews plead guilty on Jan. 13 to racketeering conspiracy; conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute controlled substances; conspiracy to import heroin, cocaine and marijuana; and conspiracy to commit money laundering.
As part of his plea, Valles agreed that he conspired to commit murder in a foreign country.
Valles is one of 35 members and associates of the Barrio Azteca or BA gang charged in a third superseding indictment unsealed in March 2011, with various counts of racketeering, murder, drug offenses, money laundering and obstruction of justice.
Of the 35 defendants charged in this case, 33 have been apprehended, 25 of whom have pleaded guilty, one committed suicide while imprisoned during his trial and one was found guilty at trial. Most recently, Valles, Luis Hernandez Celis, aka Pac, and Alberto Nunez Payan, aka Fresa, were extradited from Mexico in October 2015.
Seven years ago, Barrio Azteca members attack on two cars leaving a birthday party in Juarez.
In one car was U.S. Consulate worker Lesley Enriquez and her husband Arthur Redelfs, an El Paso County Detention Officer, who were both killed. Their baby daughter was in the car but was unharmed.
In the same attack, Jorge Alberto Salcedo Ceniceros, whose wife worked at the consulate, died in an ambush. There were several children in that car but they were unharmed, according to authorities.
As alleged in the indictment, members and associates of the BA have engaged in a host of criminal activity, ranging from drug trafficking, extortion and money laundering to kidnapping and homicides, including the March 13, 2010, murders in Juarez of a U.S. consulate employee and her husband, as well as the husband of another U.S. consulate employee.
These individuals were killed by the BA because they were mistakenly believed to be rivals associated with the Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Drug Trafficking Organization.
In connection with his plea, the defendant admitted that the BA gang is a paramilitary gang with members in West Texas and Juarez, Mexico, that operates both inside and outside the prison system, and engages in drug trafficking, money laundering, extortion, intimidation, violence, threats of violence and murder.
In addition to profiting from drug importation and distribution, the gang also profits through the collection of a “street tax” or “Cuota” through extortion from individuals engaged in both legal and illegal activities in the gang’s territory, according to officials.
According to further admissions made in connection with his plea agreement, beginning in or around 1995, Valles became an associate of the BA while imprisoned at a Bureau of Prisons facility, where he rose to the rank of sergeant.
Following his release from the BOP facility and deportation to Juarez, in July 2007, Valles was promoted to lieutenant and placed in charge of prostitution and illegal after-hours alcohol sales in downtown Juarez, and also collected “Cuota.”
Additionally, Valles maintained contact on behalf of the BA with a Mexican law enforcement entity and would use that contact to obtain information regarding the arrests of BA members, the activities, and locations of rival gang members and the results of hits carried out by the BA, officials stated.
Further, Valles maintained rosters of BA members in Juarez and was in charge of conducting daily roll-calls, as well as maintaining communications between the BA in Juarez and BA members who were in and out of prison in the U.S.
In addition, Valles admitted that on March 13, 2010, upon instructions from a high-ranking BA member, Valles obtained the location of a specific vehicle and sent BA members to that location.
Valles admitted that he was aware that he was assisting the other BA members in locating and committing crimes against the occupants of the vehicles with the U.S. Consulate workers.