La Linea drug cartel members arrested in string of car fires at Juarez junkyards

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Mexican police investigating banner accusing businesses of selling stolen cars; all detainees have prior drug arrests

EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – Juarez police have arrested four reputed members of La Linea drug cartel in connection with a string of intentional fires that consumed several vehicles at five junkyards on Monday.

All four have previously been arrested on drug charges; three were caught late Monday while allegedly tossing Molotov cocktails – gasoline-filled bottles with a burning rag attached to the opening – at an auto parts store on Oscar Flores and Barranco Azul streets, police said.

The detainees are identified as Jonathan Samuel G.H., Victor Julian S.B., Javier Rene M.R., and Michael Aaron L.P. (Mexican authorities don’t release full names of suspects.) Police also seized a gray Chevrolet Suburban at the site allegedly carrying gasoline cans and rags.

From left, Jonathan Samuel G.H., Fabian Rene M.R., Victor Julian S.B., and Michael Aaron L.P.

Juarez Mayor Armando Cabada on Tuesday morning told reporters the detainees volunteered to municipal officers that they are members of La Linea. All four suspects have previously been arrested on drug charges.

The Chihuahua state police said in a statement the fires consumed or damaged 22 vehicles. A sign was left at one of the businesses targeted. It read: “This is for buying stolen vehicles.” The state police said it had shut down that business in July after allegedly finding 29 stolen vehicles and 50 sets of stolen auto parts.

The junkyards were located in different parts of the city: The Aztecas and Nuevo Hipodromo neighborhoods in Central Juarez; Fidel Avila south of Downtown; Puente Alto in South Juarez; and Salvacar across the border from Socorro, Texas.

One of the businesses targeted in Monday night’s fire-bombing attacks. (State of Chihuahua)

Four of the businesses belonged to the same company, El Diamante S.A., but the state police said in its statement the owners did not report being threatened prior to the fires.

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