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Mexican authorities capture Juarez Cartel member wanted for brutal 2009 drug-related murder of New Mexico man

March 6, 2018  |  Posted by: Michael Falzarano
Mexican authorities capture Juarez Cartel member wanted for brutal 2009 drug-related murder of New Mexico man

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A purported member of the Juarez cartel wanted in the United States for the decade-old brutal murder of an alleged drug trafficker was arrested in the Mexican border state of Chihuahua.

The Criminal Investigation Agency of Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office announced on Twitter the capture of Jaime Veleta during an operation last week in the border city Ciudad Juarez.

Officials said the Juarez Cartel operative will be extradited to New Mexico to stand trial on federal drug trafficking charges, along with homicide, conspiracy to commit murder, kidnapping, criminal association to commit kidnapping, breaking and entering, evidence tampering, and criminal association to commit evidence tampering.

U.S. prosecutors say Valeta and three other co-conspirators abducted 53-year-old cartel associate Danny Baca,  at gunpoint from his home in East Mountain, New Mexico in January 2008.

Authorities said the suspects allegedly shot Baca 22 times with a 22-caliber assault rifle before burning the victim’s remains, which were later discovered on a rural dirt road outside Albuquerque.

Valeta (left) along with Mario Talavera (middle) and two other defendants are accused in the 2008 cartel-related execution of Danny Bacca (pictured right)

Investigators with the FBI and Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office said the Juarez Cartel ordered the execution to “send a message” after Baca failed to deliver a shipment of cocaine and marijuana to El Paso from Mexico and instead diverted the drugs to Albuquerque.

Valeta is the last of the four defendants to be apprehended in the case.

In 2015, Mexico extradited fellow co-defendant Mario Talavera, 32, a U.S. citizen after he was tracked down and arrested in the state of Cuauhtémoc.

Talavera’s cousin Mario Talavera was apprehended in 2011 in Valencia County, while a fourth suspect in the case identified as Gerardo Nuñez surrendered to authorities in 2009.

Officials said Veleta would remain in a Chihuahua state prison while extradition proceedings are initiated.

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