February 16, 2024

FBI El Paso and U.S. Border Patrol Capture International Fugitive

El Paso, Texas—Agents from the FBI El Paso's Safe Streets Gang Task Force and the U.S. Border Patrol located and arrested Michelle Angelica Pineda, aka "La Chely" at a local motel. Pineda, a Mexican national, was wanted by the Government of Mexico (GMO) for her involvement in five homicides and suspected in multiple other homicides in Cuidad de Juarez.

On February 15, 2024, members of the FBI Safe Streets Gang Task Force, El Paso Police Department's Gang Unit, El Paso County Sheriff's Office Narcotics Division, and U.S. Border Patrol learned through an active investigation that Pineda had entered the U.S. illegally and was operating a drug trafficking ring on behalf of the "Artistas Assessino" gang located in Mexico. Pineda was known for her extreme brutality such as dismembering bodies, removing hearts, and placing the hearts in front of "Sante Muerte" altars and statutes.

In the early morning hours, FBI El Paso agents, U.S. Border Patrol BORTAC operators, El Paso Police Department Gang officers, and U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents, discovered several firearms, machetes, fentanyl pills, powdered fentanyl, heroin, cocaine, Xanax, and methamphetamine in the hotel room she was located in. Pineda was arrested by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol. FBI and U.S. Border Patrol agents then escorted her to the port of entry to be transferred into the custody of the Chihuahua State Police and the State Attorney General of Chihuahua (FISCALÍA ).

“Today’s deportation highlights the swift action of our agents and our significant partnerships by successfully taking a violent assassin off our streets and putting her back into the hands of Mexican law enforcement to be tried for her crimes,” said John Morales, FBI El Paso special agent in charge. “Working hand-in-hand with our partners whether in law enforcement, the private sector, and with foreign law enforcement agencies is paramount in order to keep people like Pineda from bringing violence and drugs into our lives and poisoning our communities.”

“Through shared determination, local, state, federal, and international agencies joined forces to stand as testament to the power of collaboration in the pursuit of justice, transcending borders to safeguard our communities,” said El Paso Sector Chief Patrol Agent Anthony Scott
Good. “I could not be more grateful to this alliance of law enforcement partners.”

This investigation was the result of a multi-agency effort from the FBI’s Safe Street Task Force, located at the Texas Anti-Gang Center which consists of the FBI, the El Paso Police Department Gang Unit, the El Paso Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Division, El Paso Independent School District
Police Department, U.S. Border Patrol, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and private sector firm, Leo Technologies.