The media In Ciudad Juarez and the state of Chihuahua are reporting that one of three “sicarios” arrested Wednesday after the armed robbery of a gasoline station in this border city is an active duty U.S. Army soldier. According to authorities after their arrest the three men confessed to taking part in the murders of four Juarez police officers this year.
The men have been identified as Jesús Rubio González, age 24; Gilberto Manuel Estupiñán Aguirre, age 20; and César Benito Betancourt Griego, age 26.
Authorities claim that Gilberto Manuel Estupiñán identified himself as a soldier in the U.S. Army during his arrest and that his status was confirmed by police personnel. The three men were in a blue Honda Accord at the time of their arrest and were in possession of a 9mm handgun and ammunition and a spare magazine for an AK-47 assault type weapon, in addition to a small amount of drugs and a bottle of Buchanon’s whiskey.
The three men are alleged to have taken part in the murder of Juarez municipal police officers Joaquín Avendaño Pineda, Vidal Zatarain Valdez and Gabriel Avitia on the afternoon of September 7, 2011.
The officers were intercepted by gunmen in two pickups while returning home at the end of their shift.
The three men are also alleged to have murdered municipal police officer Cordero Mireles, who was attacked and killed a day later on September 8, 2011. At the time authorities had reported that evidence indicated the same group of gunmen were involved in both attacks.