May 16, 2014

Sinaloa Cartel Bodyguard Pleads Guilty to Federal Murder Charge in El Paso

In El Paso, 32-year-old Rigoberto Ruiz-Alatorre, a Mexican citizen living in Denver, Colorado, faces a maximum of 28 years in federal prison after pleading guilty this afternoon to murdering a member of his drug trafficking organization announced United States Attorney Robert Pitman, Drug Enforcement Administration Acting Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey T. Scott, El Paso Division, and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge Douglas E. Lindquist, El Paso Division.

On the third day of his trial on federal drug and firearms charges, Ruiz-Alatorre, an admitted drug trafficker and former bodyguard for Sinaloa narcotrafficker Gabino Salas-Valenciano (aka El Ingeniero) pleaded guilty to one count of murder resulting from the use or carrying of firearms during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime. By pleading guilty, Ruiz admitted to trafficking over 1,000 kilograms of marijuana in both the Western District of Texas and the District of New Mexico from 2002 to 2006; and, while in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in July 2006, he shot and killed Roswell, New Mexico resident Fermin Rodriguez-Gonzalez to facilitate his narcotics trafficking operation and to prevent Rodriguez-Gonzalez from providing law enforcement with details of Ruiz’ narcotics trafficking activities.

Ruiz remains in federal custody pending sentencing. Sentencing is scheduled for September 3, 2014, before United States District Judge Frank Montalvo.

This joint investigation was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Federal Bureau of Investigation together with the United States Border Patrol and the Bernalillo County (New Mexico) Sheriff’s Office.