JUAREZ, Mexico (Border Report) – Police in Chihuahua are dealing with the aftermath of a gun battle that left four men dead in Juarez’s lower valley on Wednesday.
The pre-dawn shooting took place along the new Samalayuca, Mexico, to Tornillo, Texas, highway and left five pickups and SUVs disabled on the asphalt. The victims ranged in age from 20 to 45 years and all had multiple bullet wounds, the Chihuahua Attorney General’s Office said in a statement.
The bodies were taken to the state medical examiner’s office in Juarez and the shot-up vehicles were impounded. The AG’s Office said state police recovered from the scene 69 bullet casings from AR-15 and AK-47 style rifles and from 9mm guns.
Three of the recovered vehicles had Texas license plates and one had no plates and had been reported as stolen. The fifth vehicle had Juarez plates and held camouflage clothing inside, the AG’s Office said.
The state police as of Thursday had not reported any arrests. Juarez’s lower valley has long been the site of sporadic violence that police, former residents and experts attribute to gangs associated with the Sinaloa cartel.
Colombian migrants rescued from kidnappers
A judge in Juarez has ordered three men to stand trial on kidnapping charges in connection with six Colombian migrants police recently freed from a house in the Colinas de Juarez neighborhood.
Sebastian V.O., Jesus Armando V.R. and Leonel T.O. allegedly held the migrants at the house under threats and demanded $17,000 from family members for the release of each individual, the Chihuahua Attorney General’s Office said.
The kidnappers allegedly brandished guns at their victims, which included a 15-year-old boy and a 9-year-old girl, the AG’s Office said.
A special unit of the Chihuahua State Police raided the home, freed the hostages and arrested the kidnappers on Aug 5. A state judge ruled on Wednesday that prosecutors presented sufficient evidence to take the men to trial.