Prosecutor: ‘Crystal wars’ behind latest spate of murders in Juarez

Border Crime

Detectives say drug gangs to blame for 26 bodies found in two neighborhoods; four had been incinerated

JUAREZ, Mexico (Border Report) – Control over crystal meth sales is likely to blame for the killing of 26 people in Juarez this weekend, a state prosecutor says.

Chihuahua Deputy Attorney General Jorge Nava Lopez

The killings included a triple murder in a house near Downtown and a quadruple murder in a neighborhood near the Rio Grande, in which the bodies were incinerated.

“In some cases, the survivors told us they were consuming ‘crystal’ at the scene. They said (the assassins) had orders to eliminate crystal meth dealers in the area and shot their customers,” said Chihuahua Deputy Attorney General Jorge Nava.

Nava said local drug gangs are fighting for control of retail drug sales in Downtown Juarez, where methamphetamine is being pushed hard by dealers. They’re also dialing up the violence in neighborhoods near the Rio Grande that are traditional crossing points for drugs into the United States.

In one such neighborhood, Aguilas de Zaragoza, the victims were killed inside an abandoned property. After the shooting, the attackers set the bodies ablaze, Juarez police said.

Three days later, police have six people in custody who’ve confessed to being members of known criminal organizations, Nava said. He didn’t name the groups involved, but he said they’re fighting each other.

Local authorities say they’ve asked the Mexican National Guard to send more troops to the border in order to maintain a visual deterrent on the streets.

“They have shown a good disposition (to cooperate). We’re urging our federal government to send more people to contain organized crime activity,” Nava said.

Violence in this border city has been on the rise in the past year despite the pandemic, with more than 1,600 homicides reported in 2020, compared to 1,497 in 2019.

Juarez authorities previously told Border Report that their city is becoming a “huge parking lot” for drugs waiting to be crossed into the United States. A lot of that product is staying home and fueling rising addiction rates.

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