Authorities in the border city of Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, arrested an alleged hitman for Los Aztecas gang suspected in nearly 30 cartel assassinations–including one carried out at a local barbershop.
State authorities in Chihuahua announced the arrest of 37-year-old Oscar Ernesto “El Karin” Ayala Gonzalez, a sicario with Los Aztecas or Barrio Azteca, who is linked to almost 30 murders. The arrest took place when authorities were responding to a shooting at a barbershop. When authorities arrived, they found three dead and injured at the location. Witnesses provided authorities with a description of the vehicle used by the gunmen; that vehicle was spotted soon after leading to a short police chase. Once the vehicle stopped and police arrested Ayala, they found an AK-47 rifle, a .45 caliber handgun, ammunition, and one pound of marijuana.
The Chihuahua Attorney General’s Office issued a statement confirming the arrest and providing more information about Ayala’s involvement. According to prosecutors, the gang member admitted to his role in the barbershop murder–claiming that his victims were members of a rival gang involved in the sale of street level crystal methamphetamine. During his interview with authorities, Ayala told authorities that he had been behind at least 25 other hits for Barrio Azteca. The gang is considered to be one of the enforcement arms of the Juarez Cartel.
Prosecutors claim the man known as “El Karin” is linked to more than 30 hits in Juarez and Chihuahua City, including the murder of two police officers. The murder of the two police officers is linked to the arrest of various Azteca members and was ordered by Ayala’s boss, the recently captured Rene Gerardo “El 300” Santana Garza, Breitbart Texas reported.
The arrest of some key member of Los Aztecas comes at a time when cartel linked murders continue to climb at an alarming rate, primarily due turf wars between rival drug gangs and the cartels they work for. Juarez has already seen more than 508 murders with the majority believed to be cartel or gang hits.
Los Aztecas, once known as Barrio Azteca’s formed in 1986 in an El Paso, Texas, prison and are a mixed gang of Mexican-Americans and illegal aliens from Mexico. They are extremely violent and are very active in the prison system in Mexico as well.
Los Aztecas carry out executions, kidnappings, extortion, and control the drug trade for La Linea who are the armed wing of the Juarez Cartel and have been warring with a rival gang, Los Mexicles, who are aligned with cells from the Sinaloa Cartel such as Gente Nueva and other rogue elements.
The gang was linked to a recent attack at a drug rehab center that left 18 dead over an ongoing dispute for the market between Los Aztecas and Los Mexicles. In a recent case, police also arrested a woman in Juárez for allegedly transporting three AR-15 rifles in for the Aztecas. The 19-year-old woman allegedly told police that her husband is a Barrio Azteca gang member and that the firearms were to be used in attacks on rivals.
Robert Arce is a retired Phoenix Police detective with extensive experience working Mexican organized crime and street gangs. Arce has worked in the Balkans, Iraq, Haiti, and recently completed a three-year assignment in Monterrey, Mexico, working out of the Consulate for the United States Department of State, International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Program, where he was the Regional Program Manager for Northeast Mexico (Coahuila, Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon, Durango, San Luis Potosi, Zacatecas.)