EL PASO, Texas (AP) — An alleged lieutenant of the Sinaloa cartel has been indicted in the U.S. for conspiracy in the kidnappings and deaths of a West Texas man and three New Mexico men.
Jose Antonio Torres-Marrufo, who allegedly ran the cartel's operation in Juarez, Mexico, was also indicted on drug trafficking and money laundering counts.
Torres-Marrufo was arrested in February in Leon, Guatnajuato, Mexico, and awaits extradition. Attorney information was not immediately available.
The indictment unsealed last week accuses Torres-Marrufo of conspiring to kill a man in 2009 with the initials S.S. That coincides with Sergio Saucedo, abducted from his home and killed in Mexico.
Two men were found guilty and one more pleaded guilty of the kidnapping of Saucedo. He was taken at gunpoint from his house in Horizon City, Texas, while his wife and child watched. He was found dead with his hands chopped off several days later in an unpaved street in neighboring Juarez, Mexico.
Upon his arrest, Mexican authorities said that Marrufo is believed to be the mastermind behind a Sept. 2009 massacre in Casa Aliviane drug rehab center in Juarez where 18 people were shot to death.
Torres-Marrufo is also accused in the indictment of conspiring in the 2010 deaths of three men whose initials coincide with three New Mexico men abducted from a wedding in Juarez and killed.
The bodies Rafael Morales Valencia, 29, his brother Jaime Morales Valencia, 25, and their uncle Guadalupe Morales Arriola, 47 were found in May 2010 in the back of a pickup truck after being snatched from the wedding of one of these. The indictment says that Torres-Marrufo consipired in May 2010 to kidnap three men with the initials R.M.V.,J.M.V. and G.M.A.
The indictment says Torres-Marrufo was a "regional lieutenant" for the Sinaloa Cartel and as such was responsible of overseeing drug-smuggling operations, money laundering and directing criminal groups such as Gente Nueva (New People), and the gang known as Artistas Asesinos (Murderous Artists) who act as enforcers in the war that cartel wages against local criminal organization, the Juarez cartel and its armed branch known as La Linea.
The Sinaloa Cartel is run by Joaquin Guzman, known as El Chapo.