Mexican drug cartel hitman says he committed 800 murders before he stopped keeping track

  • Jesus Ernesto Chavez is the star witness against his former boss, Arturo Gallegos Castrellon
  • Chavez admitted to 800 murders but knows there are more because he stopped keeping track after 800
  • Castrellon is the alleged leader of the Barrio Azteca street gang
  • Barrio Azteca was the go-to hit-squad for the Juarez drug cartel
  • Castrellon, 32, is accused of orchestrating the murders of two Americans during a March 2010 drive-by shooting
  • He claims he only confessed after he was tortured for three days by Mexican police who shocked his testicles and raped his wife
  • A federal judge ruled last month that his confession can’t be suppressed, but his attorneys want a U.S. jury to decide
  • Since Castrellon was arrested the murder rate in Juarez has fallen dramatically

By Daily Mail Reporter

PUBLISHED: 22:13 GMT, 11 February 2014 | UPDATED: 22:15 GMT, 11 February 2014

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In shocking testimony during the murder trial of an alleged Mexican drug cartel enforcer, the star witness in the case - himself a cartel hitman - told jurors that he stopped keeping track of the number of people he had killed when the number approached 800.

Jesus Ernesto Chavez Castillo, the star witness in the trial of his former boss, Arturo Gallegos Castrellon,gave grisly details about how Castrellon grew the Barrio Azteca gang from a Texas prison gang into the band of contract killers for one of Mexico's most violent drug cartels, the Juarez Cartel.

Chavez testified that he had a daily murder quota he was expected to meet to instill fear in police, elected officials and the public at large.

Hitman: Jesus Ernesto Chavez says he stopped keeping track of the number of people he's killed after 800

Hitman: Jesus Ernesto Chavez says he stopped keeping track of the number of people he's killed after 800

Chavez - under Castrellon's rule - says he helped earn Juarez, Mexico, the title of 'Murder Capital of the World' by killing thousands of people over a four-year period while working for the cartel.

In addition to the staggering number of murders for which Chavez has taken credit, the manner in which he killed is as brutal as it is shocking.

Chavez told jurors that he often beheaded or dismembered his victims as a means to impress his boss, Castrellon. The goal of each murder, he testified, was to make it as brutal as possible so 'that it would be big news.'

“I feel I did the right thing, since I did so much wrong,” Chavez said in court, explaining why he was now testifying against his former boss, according to Fox News.

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Arturo Gallegos Castrellon, 32, is accused of killing two Americans, an employee at the consulate in Juarez and her husband, during a March 2010 drive-by shooting

Castrellon is on trial for ordering the murders of U.S. Consulate worker Lesley Enriquez, her husband, El Paso County Sheriff's Officer Arthur Redfels, and Jorge Alberto Salcido Ceniceros, husband of another consulate employee on March 13, 2010.

The victims were gunned down after they left a children’s party. The couple's one-year-old baby was found unharmed in the back seat of their car.

Authorities believe the victims were mistaken for rival gang members who mistook the white Honda Pilot in which the were riding for that of a rival cartel member from the Sinaloa Cartel - with which the Juarez Cartel has been engaged in a long, bloody turf war.

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Consulate employee Lesley Enriquez, 35, and her husband, El Paso County Sheriff's Detention officer Arthur Haycock Redelfs, were gunned down after they left a children's party in March 2010

Ultimately, the Sinaloa cartel won the war and control of the drug-trade route through El Paso and the surrounding areas.

According to Fox, it could be impossible to ever find out how many murders the Barrio Azteca Gang is responsible for. A telling sign, however, is that fact that after 35 members of the gang were arrested in 2010, the number of murders in Juarez fell from 3,622 in 2010 to 2,086 in 2011. 

By 2012, the number of murders was down to 751 - a number that would have been unheard of just three years earlier, when Castrellon and his gang were still on the streets.

However, a security analyst tells the network the real reason the murder rate is down is because the war between the cartels has come to an end, with Sinaloa the victor.

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The couple's one-year-old daughter, now orphaned, is cradled by a policewoman in the wake of the 2010 shootings which killed her parents

'The murder rate in Juarez persisted because you had two powerful criminal organizations providing the weaponry, money and illicit drugs to push gangs to kill one another,' Stratfor Mexico security analyst Tristan Reed said.

In other words, now that the Sinaloa cartel is unrivaled in Juarez, the murder count has decreased.

Reed warns, though, that Barrio Aztecas is still an active and powerful street gang on the U.S. side of the border and has been implicated in several high-profile murders in El Paso over the last several years.

'It is important to remember that Los Aztecas are still a very dangerous street gang operating in both Mexico and the United States,' Reed said. 'However, their ability to carry out violence as seen in 2010 is no longer around.'

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Hit squad: A soldier patrols near the car in Juarez in which the U.S. consulate worker and her husband were shot dead in 2010

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By Obarimah Ntow 12/02/2014 01:15:00
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