FBI agents were conducting interviews in the United States to assist Mexican police in the murder investigation of two Americans and a Mexican who had links to the U.S. consulate in the Mexican town of Ciudad Juarez.
FBI spokeswoman Andrea Simmons told NPR.org that as many as five U.S. law enforcement agencies were chasing down leads in Saturday's assassination-style murders of U.S. consulate employee Lesley A. Enriquez and her husband, Arthur H. Redelfs. Jorge Alberto Salcido Ceniceros, the husband of another consular employee, was killed in a separate attack.
The attorney general's office in the state of Chihuahua, where Juarez is located, speculated that the Aztecas street gang and La Linea, a group of cartel "enforcers," may be responsible. The reason for the midafternoon attacks remained unclear.
According to the Juarez newspaper El Diario, Enriquez was from a prominent Mexican family and was the niece of a former official in Mexico's federal government. Officials confirmed that she was pregnant when she was killed. Mexican President Felipe Calderon promised to work swiftly to find the killers, while U.S. President Obama expressed outrage at the deaths. It was the second U.S. border consulate closed because of violence in the past month. The consular office in Reynosa, across from McAllen, Texas, closed for several days in late February because of gun battles in the area.
Tom Cseh, Deputy Director for Vance International de Mexico, an Andrews International Company, told Security magazine that the situation "would seem to indicate that the place of the birthday party was under surveillance by the criminal elements who decided to attack both vehicles, although miles apart, in perhaps a revenge-motivated killing. Speculation as to why both families were targeted at the same time has ranged from something to do with the U.S. citizen husband being an employee of the El Paso County Jail and the Mexican citizen husband being a former Mexican policeman, but with no further evidence given as of yet and, of course, the similarity between the two SUVs linking both crimes together."
He said that it was significant to note that threats against American diplomats working in consulates in Mexican border cities have increased in recent months and that Mexican nationals working at those same consulates were feeling the pressure from living in those border cities where frequent shootings between rival drug gangs and/or between Federal forces are an increasingly common occurrence, he said.
"In both violent episodes cited above, it was mentioned that the victims in both vehicles apparently detected that they were being followed and attempted to escape, but were cut off one way or another and the assailants then fired into both vehicles for effect, wounding the two young children of the deceased Mexican national victim and leaving unharmed the baby daughter of the American couple victims strapped into her baby seat on the back seat of their vehicle. With the threat of imminent danger omnipresent on a daily basis, especially in Ciudad Juarez, a course in surveillance detection and defensive/evasive drivers training might have saved the day for the victims in both tragic incidents."