Latin America & Caribbean

Mexico arrest over US consulate killing

Wrecked car of murdered consular worker
Image caption The victims' car was riddled with bullets

Mexican police say they have arrested a gang leader responsible for killing three people connected to the US consulate in Ciudad Juarez in March.

Jesus Ernesto Chavez admitted targeting a US consular worker because she was thought to have given visas to a rival gang, police said.

Her husband and another man linked to the consulate were also killed.

The murders raised fears that US interests had become a target in Mexico's drugs war.

Police say the suspect leads a gang known as the Aztecs, which is linked to the Juarez cartel, one of Mexico's most powerful drug-trafficking organisations.

He is also accused of taking part in the murder of 13 teenagers at a party in Ciudad Juarez in January.

Drive-by shooting

Lesley Enriquez - a US citizen working at the Juarez consulate - and her American husband Arthur Redelfs were shot dead in their car after leaving a social event in the city.

Enriquez, 35, was four months pregnant when she died. The couple's seven-month-old daughter survived the attack and was found crying in the back seat.

Jorge Alberto Salcedo - the husband of another consular worker - was killed in a near-simultaneous drive-by shooting as he drove away from the same event.

Police say he was targeted because he was driving a similar car to Enriquez, and the gunmen were not sure which one to attack.

At the time, the US state department said the killings showed the "severe and significant danger" Mexico's drugs gangs posed to Mexico and the US.

FBI agents were sent to Mexico to help with the investigation, and security at US consulates in the border region was stepped up.

Ciudad Juarez - just across the US border from El Paso in Texas - is Mexico's most violent city. More than 1,200 people have been murdered there so far this year.