HomeNewsBriefBarrio Azteca Leader's Arrest Casts Doubt on Trump Border Rhetoric
BRIEF

Barrio Azteca Leader's Arrest Casts Doubt on Trump Border Rhetoric

BARRIO AZTECA / 3 JUL 2018 BY PARKER ASMANN EN

The recent arrest of a top Barrio Azteca leader in Mexico offers additional insight into the criminal and drug trafficking dynamics along the US-Mexico border at a time when US President Donald Trump continues his rhetorical onslaught against the MS13.

On June 26, members of the Mexican army and a special investigative unit arrested Eduardo Ravelo Rodríguez, alias “El Tablas,” in the city of Uruapan in the Pacific state of Michoacán, according to a press release from the US Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), which named Ravelo to its "Ten Most Wanted Fugitives List" in October 2009.

Ravelo is allegedly the "captain" of the Barrio Azteca gang, whose stronghold is the adjacent border towns of Ciudad Juárez in Mexico and El Paso, Texas. The group first emerged as a prison gang in Texas’ penitentiary system in the late 1980s before later becoming a key ally of the Juárez Cartel.

SEE ALSO: Barrio Azteca Profile

Ravelo was indicted in 2008 and 2010 on various charges ranging from racketeering and drug trafficking to money laundering and murder. According to the 2010 indictment, he was responsible for ordering Barrio Azteca members to commit murders across the border in Ciudad Juárez, in addition to conspiring to import cocaine, heroin and marijuana into the United States for distribution.

Ravelo was also wanted by authorities for his alleged involvement in the March 2010 murder of a US consulate employee and two other US citizens in Ciudad Juárez.

The United States has reportedly requested his extradition. 

InSight Crime Analysis

While President Trump has focused intensely on the MS13 gang in support of his "zero tolerance" approach to immigration and security along the US-Mexico border, other groups like the Barrio Azteca also pose a significant challenge.

Unlike the MS13, which has struggled to assume a major role international drug trafficking, Barrio Azteca has long assisted Mexican cartels with trafficking people and smuggling drugs across the US-Mexico border.

“The Barrio Azteca has a longstanding, very close relationship with the Mexican cartels,” Mike Vigil, the former Chief of International Operations at the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), told InSight Crime. “They’re trusted by the cartels, and they act as the intermediary between the cartels and the MS13.”

SEE ALSO: Coverage of US-Mexico Border

The MS13 is undoubtedly reeking havoc in some US cities with brutal acts of violence, primarily along the East Coast of the United States. But gangs like the Barrio Azteca are the ones at the forefront of drug trafficking and other criminal activities along the US-Mexico border.

According to Vigil, “The Barrio Azteca may pose a bigger threat to national security than the MS13.”

Still, as InSight Crime previously detailed in a multi-year investigation into the MS13, the Trump administration has used the gang as a “bogeyman” and exaggerated the group’s threat, in part by making it a “priority target” of the US Justice Department’s Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF).

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

MEXICO / 5 MAY 2014

Authorities in Tijuana, Mexico have seized 44 tons of marijuana, indicating that despite an increased reliance on Caribbean and Pacific…

CONTRABAND / 30 APR 2015

Data on seizures by customs officials at Mexico’s ports of entry over the last decade illustrates where organized crime prefers…

ELITES AND CRIME / 5 AUG 2014

A video of a tearful mayor from Michoacan, Mexico pleading for the help of the Knights Templar offers yet another…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution Met With Uproar

6 MAY 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime launched its latest investigation, Venezuela’s Cocaine Revolution¸ accompanied by a virtual panel on its findings. The takeaways from this three-year effort, including the fact that Venezuela…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela Drug Trafficking Investigation and InDepth Gender Coverage

29 APR 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime will be publishing The Cocaine Revolution in Venezuela, a groundbreaking investigation into how the Venezuelan government regulates the cocaine trade in the country. An accompanying event,…

THE ORGANIZATION

InDepth Coverage of Juan Orlando Hernández

22 APR 2022

Ever since Juan Orlando Hernández was elected president of Honduras in 2014, InSight Crime has provided coverage of every twist and turn during his rollercoaster time in office, amid growing…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution

15 APR 2022

On May 4th, InSight Crime will publish a groundbreaking investigation on drug trafficking in Venezuela. A product of three years of field research across the country, the study uncovers cocaine production in…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Widespread Coverage of InSight Crime MS13 Investigation

8 APR 2022

In a joint investigation with La Prensa Gráfica, InSight Crime recently revealed that four of the MS13’s foremost leaders had been quietly released from…