Suspect’s claim that slain U.S. worker helped gang is nonsense, official says
MEXICO CITY — The drug cartel enforcer told an unsettling story, police say: A woman who worked in the Mexican border area’s biggest U.S. consulate had helped a rival gang obtain U.S. visas. For that, he claims to have ordered her killed, police say.
Nonsense, says a U.S. official, who said Friday that the motive for the slaying remains unknown.
The employee, Lesley Enriquez, and two other people connected to the U.S. consulate in Juárez were killed March 13 in attacks that raised concerns that Americans were being caught up in drug-related violence.
Amid those worries, the State Department announced new travel restrictions Friday for U.S. government employees working away from the border in Mexico and Central America. As of July 15, they and their families are barred from crossing anywhere along Texas’ border, north or
has confessed, police say. south, because of safety concerns.
Jesus Ernesto Chavez, whose arrest was announced Friday, confessed to ordering the killings, said Ramon Pequeno, the anti-narcotics chief for the Federal Police. He said Chavez leads a band of hit men for a street gang tied to the Juárez cartel.
Pequeno said Chavez told police that Enriquez was targeted because she helped provide visas to a rival gang. But a U.S. official familiar with the investigation said Friday on condition of anonymity that after the killings, U.S. officials investigated possible corruption involving Enriquez and found none.
U.S. Embassy officials have said that Enriquez was never in a position to provide visas and worked in a section that offers basic services to U.S. citizens in Mexico.
Moreover, another arrested suspect has said the shooting had actually targeted Enriquez’s husband, Arthur Redelfs, because of his job as an officer at the El Paso County Jail.
Chavez also is accused in a nearly simultaneous attack on another vehicle that killed the husband of a Mexican employee of the consulate.
Jesus Ernesto Chavez