Home News Speeches Press Conference Regarding Barrio Azteca Arrests
  • Shawn Henry
  • Executive Assistant Director
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • Barrio Azteca Press Availability
  • Washington, D.C.
  • March 09, 2011

Good afternoon. 

This takedown is an important step forward in disrupting and dismantling one of the most powerful and brutal gangs operating along the U.S.-Mexico border.

As the attorney general noted, the Barrio Azteca gang has transformed from a prison gang to a sophisticated transnational criminal enterprise. Its members have committed unspeakable acts of violence, terrorized communities on both sides of the border, and murdered the innocent.

Today we stand with the families of some of the victims, and it is my hope that today’s arrests will bring them some peace.

It is also my hope that today’s arrests will weaken the structure of this barbaric group, which has shown complete disregard for human life.

And that the publicity surrounding this case will lead to information concerning the whereabouts of Eduardo Ravelo, an alleged captain in the Barrio Azteca organization. Ravelo is one of the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives, and the Bureau is offering a reward of up to $100,000 for information leading directly to his arrest.

Our success would not have been possible without the collective efforts of federal, state, and local law enforcement; dedicated prosecutors; and our counterparts in Mexico. I especially want to commend the DEA and the leadership of DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart.

And we are particularly grateful to our Mexican partner agencies for the critical information and support they provided to help resolve this case and bring the subjects to justice. We may stand on opposite sides of the border, but we stand together on the same side of the law. Juntos.

We have long understood that our most powerful response is a joint response. In our many task forces across the country, FBI agents work in lock-step with police and other federal agencies on the street, sharing information and investigating cases together.

Along with partnerships, we also rely on intelligence. One good piece of intelligence—whether it is a phone number, a name, or an ATM receipt—can be the breakthrough we need to make a vital connection or to crack a case.

By using federal and state drug and racketeering statutes, we can attack the foundation of any given gang. Once the gang’s leadership infrastructure implodes, its membership is weakened, and it becomes difficult for the group to operate. It’s how we mitigate the threat.

Gang crime may be a reality today, but together, we can change that reality tomorrow. We in the FBI are committed to working with all our federal, state, local, and international counterparts to take back our communities and make our nation a safer place to live. Thank you.

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