2 Confidantes of Juarez Police Chief Gunned Down in a Weekend

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Two men described as trusted associates of Ciudad Juarez police chief Julian Leyzaola were shot dead in the Mexican border city in separate incidents within a 12 hour period.

Simon Saul Estrada Luevano, acting chief guard at the city’s prison, was killed on his day off while at home with his family Saturday night. An armed gang broke into his home and shot him 30 times. The 36-year-old had only recently been appointed to his post.

Less than 12 hours later, police officer Roberto Carlos Maldonado Ruiz, 38, was ambushed by armed men as he travelled home, after leaving a police station where he was in charge of the night shift. After being shot several times, his vehicle crashed into a concrete wall and he died at the scene.

The deaths of the two men bring to 30 the number of law enforcement officers who have been killed in the border city this year.

Julian Leyzaola Perez became Ciudad Juarez’s police chief in March, following a nearly two-year stint as police chief in Tijuana, where he gained notoriety for his aggressive tactics to crack down on crime and for his attempts to stamp out police corruption.

He has promised to take a hard line on police corruption in Ciudad Juarez and has previously alleged that at least a quarter of police in the city are involved with organized crime. Leyzaola has had an uneasy relationship with Mexican federal police in the past, having accused them of trying to murder him, after federal officers shot at him as he arrived at the scene of a prison riot in June.

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