A 52-year-old member of the Barrio Azteca gang named Ricardo Valles De La Rosa was jailed for life for taking part in racketeering and drug trafficking conspiracies. Ricardo who also goes by the name Chino was jailed on July 20 for his crimes after pleading guilty of January 13. He is among 35 other gang members that have been charged so far since March 2011 for offenses such as murder, obstruction of justice, racketeering, drug trafficking and money laundering. 35 gang members have been indicted in this case, 25 have pleaded guilty. One of the members committed suicide while in prison.

Ricardo's admissions

On January 13, Ricardo admitted in court that he became an associate of the gang in or around 1995 while in prison.

He later rose to the ranks of a sergeant. He was then promoted to the position of lieutenant in July 2007 and was placed in charge of illegal after-hours alcohol sales and prostitution in downtown Juarez. Ricardo also admitted that on March 13, 2010, he assisted fellow gang members to locate a vehicle with the intent of committing murder to its occupants. His group members later found the car and killed the husband of a U.S consulate employee. According to the New York Times, the gunmen killed the husband of yet another consular worker and wounded his two children. 50 people were also killed in violent weekend attacks across Mexico at that time.

About the gang

The group also goes by the name Los Aztecas; it was founded in 1986 in jails of El Paso Texas, most of its members are Mexicans. The gang has a membership of 5,000 members, 3,000 are believed to be living in the United States.

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Criminal activities committed by gang members include drug trafficking, money laundering, contract killing, murder, extortion, arms trafficking and people smuggling. Barrio Azteca allied with La Linea in 2008 to gain more control of drug smuggling routes in Ciudad Juarez. The DEA estimates that 70 percent of the cocaine entering the U.S through Mexico is smuggled through that area.

Eduardo Ravelo

Edwardo is believed to be the leader of the gang. The FBI placed him as the most wanted fugitive on October 2009. He becomes the head of the group in 2008 after successfully betraying his predecessor. He was born in Mexico and is believed to be residing in the United States. The FBI believes that he is hiding in a Barrio Aztecas-controlled neighborhood just across the border in El Paso, Texas. The FBI currently offers a $100,000 reward for information that will lead to his arrest.