Pubdate: Thu, 10 Sep 2009
Source: El Paso Times (TX)
Copyright: 2009 El Paso Times
Authors: Michael D. Hernandez and Daniel Borunda


Horizon City Man's Mutilated Body Found in Juarez Late Tuesday

HORIZON CITY -- A man who was boldly kidnapped at gunpoint from his 
home in Horizon City last week was found dead in Juarez -- his 
mutilated body laid out in a macabre display intended to send a message.

The abduction and slaying of Sergio Saucedo was one of the most 
blatant examples of drug violence in El Paso since a war between 
cartels began in Juarez in January 2008.

Saucedo's body was found late Tuesday, his hands chopped off and left 
resting on his bare chest, a plastic bag stuffed in his mouth and his 
pants pulled down to his ankles in an apparent attempt to humiliate 
him. His body was found about 11 p.m. at Camino Viejo San Jose and 
Ejercito Nacional streets, Chihuahua state police said.

The severed hands signify that the victim was considered a thief, law 
enforcement agents said.

El Paso County Sheriff Richard Wiles said Saucedo had ties to one of 
the Mexican cartels battling for control over the lucrative smuggling 
routes, but he declined to disclose specific information about the 
connection. Court records show that Saucedo, 30, was convicted in 
2003 of possession of marijuana over 5 pounds and under 50 pounds. In 
2007, he was charged with money laundering. Last year, Saucedo was 
charged with a probation violation and with criminal negligence for 
abandoning or endangering a child.

Even though Saucedo's kidnapping and death, and the fatal shooting in 
May of informant Jose Daniel Gonzalez-Galeana outside his East Side 
home, have been tied to Mexican drug cartels, officials insist that 
the violence in Juarez is not spilling into El Paso.

Chihuahua state police are investigation the homicide, and the 
Sheriff's Office is looking into the abduction.

The FBI had a very small role in the abduction investigation, though 
the bureau may become more involved.

"People should not get alarmed over this, that violence is spilling 
over into El Paso. Because if it's drug-related kidnapping, it is not 
an average person in El Paso being snatched up and taken into 
Mexico," said Special Agent Andrea Simmons, a spokes woman for the 
local FBI office.

On the afternoon of Sept. 4, three men armed with weapons grabbed 
Saucedo from his house in the 14200 block of Desert Sunset in a new 
subdivision of Horizon City. He was tied up with duct tape and 
carried away from his wife out of the back of their home.

Saucedo was yelling for help when he was loaded onto a maroon Ford 
Expedition with tinted windows and chrome rims in view of a bus load 
of schoolchildren.

Wiles said his deputies responded as quickly as they could to 
Saucedo's abduction after being called by Horizon City police.

The kidnapping was a brazen crime in a quiet county neighborhood. 
Wiles said people should be cautious but should also understand that 
the incident was extraordinary.

"I just can't imagine that the drug cartels or any criminal element 
related to that would just come over here and kidnap somebody just 
for the sake of causing panic or terror," Wiles said. "Clearly, their 
targets are specific."

Mexican drug cartels have traditionally preferred to kidnap targets 
and sneak them into Juarez, because murders in the U.S. attract a lot 
of attention.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman Roger Maier said CBP 
officers were alerted by the Sheriff's Office about the kidnapping 
the day it occurred, but the time the alert was issued was not 
immediately available.

CBP officers have been doing interment checks of vehicles heading 
into Mexico in an effort to curb the smuggling of firearms and drug money.

More than 100 people have been killed so far this month in Juarez 
after the record-breaking month of August, which ended with more than 
300 homicides. More than 1,500 people have been killed this year.

The murders, street shootings and mutilated bodies have become common 
since the start of a war between the Juarez and Sinaloa drug cartels 
that has left more than 3,000 dead.

"You can bring the Marines, the DEA, the CIA and the KGB together but 
it won't work because all the arrests made -- like those made by the 
Mexican army -- get stuck in the investigation phase," said Gustavo 
Munoz Hepo, a Juarez city council member.

"Those arrested are freed," Munoz said in a statement on the public 
safety crisis. "That is impunity." 
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake