Captured Hitman Claims Zetas Ordered Activist’s Murder

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A man accused of killing activist Marisela Escobedo, who was gunned down in north Mexico state in 2010 after campaigning for justice over her daughter’s murder, has said the hit was ordered by the Zetas.

Jose Enrique Jimenez Zavala, alias “El Wicked,” was detained by Mexican authorities in Chihuahua City on October 4. The state’s attorney general announced that El Wicked is suspected of the December 2010 murder of activist Marisela Escobedo, reported CNN Mexico.

El Wicked, an alleged leader of a cell of the Aztecas gang, has confessed to the killing. He told authorities that the Zetas and La Linea, were behind the hit on Escobedo, and that La Linea commander Jesus Antonio Rincon Chavero, alias “El Tarzan,” handed down the order. El Tarzan, a former police officer, was detained last year. Both Aztecas and La Linea have had alliances with the Juarez Cartel.

Escobedo was gunned down in front of the governor’s office in Chihuahua City. She had become a prominent campaigner for judicial reform after her daughter’s murderer was freed. Sergio Barraza confessed to killing the teenager, even taking police to the location where he had burned the body, but a judge later released him due to lack of evidence.

El Wicked said that Barraza was part of the Zetas, and that the gang wanted Escobedo killed as she was drawing unwanted attention to them.

InSight Crime Analysis

The lawyer handling the murder of Escobedo and her daughter has questioned the veracity of El Wicked’s claims, citing inconsistencies in the state’s investigation into the crime and elements of El Wicked’s testimony. For one, she said, a little under a year ago authorities claimed they had found the killer and scientific evidence to link him to Escobedo’s homicide, reported Proceso.

In addition, the lawyer said Escobedo’s case was still far from over, as the author of the attack had still not been arrested for the crime.

News of a Zetas-La Linea alliance first came to light in June last year in Chihuahua, the two gangs reportedly joining forces to combat the Sinaloa Cartel.

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