Many of you still believe the lie being perpetuated by the community’s elite that El Paso is the safest city in the nation. Although I have already pointed out that the FBI discourages the use of their data to rank cities and that other news outlets have pointed out the fallacy of the rankings the local city leadership still continue to perpetuate the lie. I realize that it is easier to believe the lie then to accept the sobering truth of the reality. However a lie cannot be allowed to stand unchallenged and therefore I will continue to point it out when evidence surfaces to prove it as a lie.

There is an ongoing court case involving the Barrio Aztecas and the murder of two El Pasoans in Juárez. The irony of a trial being held in El Paso for a crime that hasn’t been accounted for in the data used to generate the city rankings isn’t lost in me. Generally a crime is prosecuted in the jurisdiction it was committed at. Except for politically motivated extra-jurisdictional cases tried by US and Spanish judges most cases are tried based on a crime committed within the jurisdiction.

I would like for someone to point out to me where the El Paso police agencies reported the homicides of the two El Pasoans in Juárez being tried in court currently. If not homicides then what crimes are being tried in federal court? Which crimes were allegedly committed in El Paso and how are they accounted for in the data submitted to the FBI that is then used to rank the communities?

Even ignoring this inconvenient fact there are numerous other pieces of evidence that do not support the notion that El Paso is the safest city in the nation.

Take the Barrio Aztecas, for example. Everyone agrees that the Barrio Aztecas were formed in El Paso in the early 1980’s. They have been labeled as one of the most dangerous multinational criminal organizations in the US. Consider that for a moment, as far as all of the information known in the public realm the Aztecas continue to base their operations in El Paso and Juárez.

How is it that a violent multinational criminal organization operates in the safest city in the nation?

The ongoing trial offers us even more nuggets of information that should be considered in the context of the safest city in the nation.

According to the testimony so far one of the gang’s former members is related to Vicente Carrillo Fuentes. Considering that this is a gang based in El Paso and not Cd. Juárez, then consider the implications of a familial relationship between one of the most violent drug dealers in the world and a Barrio Azteca member.

Additionally, during testimony in the case looking into the conspiracy to kill Arthur and Lesley Redelfs it was disclosed that the Barrio Aztecas went from being a prison gang to actively participating in the Drug War in Juárez around 2007. Keep in mind that many members of the gang are US citizens who live in El Paso. They are also actively involved in drug trafficking and murder among other things.

Again, I ask how is it that they make their home in the safest city in the nation.

For those that argue that what happens in Juárez is outside of El Paso jurisdiction and therefore has nothing to do with El Paso I would ask them to explain under what jurisdictional theory the current trial is being conducted, if not for a crime committed in El Paso?

Either El Paso has jurisdiction or it does not. It can’t be both ways. If El Paso can assert jurisdiction then the crimes need to be documented and accounted for. More importantly this is but one example of cross-border crime that the El Paso leadership loves to gloss over hoping no one will notice.

One of the witnesses has testified that it took him “two daysto count $11.8 million in drug trafficking proceeds. That is illicit money in El Paso and only one example.

Now ask yourself how many more drug proceeds are floating around El Paso that it takes two days to count? One, two, three or more examples?

Even better, as you drive around El Paso, take a moment to notice how many clubs and restaurants are in brand-new, mostly empty strip malls in a city where politicians constantly bemoan that industry is hard to attract into the community and everyone is heavily taxed. Why is it that there is monetary pressure upon the citizenry, high unemployment yet there are numerous clubs, restaurants and strip malls being built all of the time?

Some of it can be explained by the Mexican economy crossing over but not all of it.

Another witness has testified how the prison-based gang was trafficking in weapons to Mexico. In other words, weapons trafficking were going through El Paso, some of which have been prosecuted and the question I still have is where are those statistics documented in the criminal data given to the FBI?

And, how are weapons trafficking through El Paso possible in the safest city in the nation?

Another Barrio Azteca member has testified that he received paramilitary training from the Zetas. He also has testified that he was responsible for at least 800 murders, although he stopped counting after that. That is one member of the Barrio Azteca gang which is comprised of between 3,000 to 8,000 members in various cities in the US and Mexico. Remember that the gang hails from El Paso and is predominantly present in El Paso.

A member of the gang testifies that he is singularly responsible for at least 800 murders and he lives in the safest city in the nation? How anyone can reconcile that is beyond me!

Martin Paredes

Martín Paredes is a Mexican immigrant who built his business on the U.S.-Mexican border. As an immigrant, Martín brings the perspective of someone who sees México as a native through the experience...

9 replies on “Barrio Aztecas and the Safest City Lie”

  1. I think the criminal element is Juarez is smart enough not to rock the boat in the city that has the largest military facility on the planet, the combined Ft. Bliss, WSMR, Kastner Range and Holloman AFB.

  2. The sub-title of the article hits the nail on the head – a “lie sealed in blood.” But I think the article, while making some great points, misses a important nuance. One of the main drivers behind El Paso’s safety is none other than the Aztecas and other gangs here. The Aztecas’ mission is to aid the cartels, both moving drugs across the border and through El Paso, and moving weapons and muscle into Mexico. To accomplish that core mission, the Aztecas need to keep their presence and business in El Paso quiet. The way they accomplish that is by demanding their El Paso based minions not engage in any petty crime in El Paso, and to not permit anyone in their families or entourages to commit petty (or even serious crimes) in El Paso. The Aztecas will not tolerate crime in El Paso, not only because they themselves live here, but because it would call in the US law enforcement authorities and interfere with their business operations. So, in the end, yes, the reason El Paso is safe is because of, in a key respect, the Aztecas want it that way. I would agree that is a lie sealed in blood, as much as I hate saying it. It makes one shudder.

    And to another point. How can we criticize local leaders who tout the safety of El Paso? During the worst of times in Juarez, the only national and international news about El Paso was the epic violence in Juarez. That news was terrible for the local economy. No new companies wanted to come here. No conventions would want to come here. Recruiters couldn’t get anyone to come here. There were well-educated people all over the world who were afraid of coming to El Paso for fear of getting shot. So the elected and business leaders had no choice but to puff up El Paso’s “safest city” designation. If you were the mayor or a city rep, you would do the same. And is El Paso safe? Yes, you know it. Everyone here knows it. You can walk in any neighborhood in this city (or virtually all of them) at anytime of the day or night without fear of harm, provided the drunk drivers are not on the road at the moment.

    1. Good morning Frank,

      Thank you for your well thought out comment. You bring up a very interesting point that I would like to elaborate on. I also want to comment on your point about what the El Paso leadership should do. Rather than write one long comment in response I’d like to expand on your point and respond to your comment about the leadership in a new post. So look for my response in post next week.

      Again, thank you for adding to the commentary and making an excellent argument.

  3. We, for the most part, know the parody of the gangs and their mission here. The issue here is how the politicians tout the words of el paso being the safest city. Perhaps is more of their credibility is so low that for the most part they are no longer believable. We should not take the position that we must be fearful because that also has a tendency to create violence and wars. Being truthful with the community is important because we live right here and we know when lies are being perpetrated only for self interest.

  4. El Paso has never been the safest city in the nation. It is the safest “large” city. Other cities were safest in their category.

  5. El Paso has never been the safest city in the nation. It is the safest “large” city. Other cities were safest in their category. I am getting error message stating “I already said this”. Well, post the correction of the designation

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