A Juárez TV news anchor was killed because gang members mistook his car for that of a rival, state authorities said.
Chihuahua state investigators this week arrested two alleged members of the Artistas Asesinos gang accused in a shooting that killed Arturo Alba Medina on a Juárez street last month.
Investigators arrested Adrian Alexis “El Mango” M.V., 18, and Carlos Ivan “El Reportero,” B.S., 24, who are alleged members of a drug-dealing cell of the Artistas Asesinos (Artist Assassins).
A state investigation determined the attack was not associated with Alba’s journalistic work, Chihuahua Gov. Javier Corral said in an online news briefing Friday night announcing the arrests.
The two homicide suspects allegedly told investigators that the attack was a coincidence after Alba parked his car, which they mistook for that of a rival, officials said.
Alba, 49, was a news anchor for Telediario Juárez on Multimedios Televisión on XHMTCH-TDT digital channel 6 in Juárez.
Alba was also a professor and spokesman for the Technological Institute of Ciudad Juárez, known as ITCJ. He was previously a news anchor and reporter with Channel 26-KINT in El Paso and Channel 44-XHIJ in Juárez.
On the night of Oct. 29, Alba was shot to death in a Dodge Charger with Texas plates that he was driving in the Hidalgo neighborhood near the Bridge of the Americas in Juárez.
Corral said that the homicide was the focus of a large investigation. The investigation included the state prosecutor’s human rights office, which was tasked with determining if the victim was targeted because he was a journalist in violation of the right to free expression.
The investigation included more than 70 interviews at the scene, searches at more than 20 locations and a review of 180 hours of security camera videos, the governor said.
The investigation pointed toward a drug-dealing crew and a vehicle believed to have been used in the shooting, officials said.
On Tuesday, a special tactical operation resulted in the arrests of five suspected gang members, including the two suspects in Alba’s killing, officials said.
Police also seized 1,900 fentanyl pills, a half-kilo of crystal methamphetamine, two stolen vehicles, six rifles and three handguns.
Officials said that investigators are looking into the possibility the group is involved in at least two other homicides.
The Artistas Asesinos, also known as the “Doble A,” or Double A or AA, is a former Juárez graffiti tagging crew that evolved into a violent street gang hired as shooters for the Sinaloa cartel during the drug cartel war a decade ago.
There have been more than 1,500 murders in Juárez this year, including 50 this month, according to a daily tally by the Norte Digital news website.
More news:Back to shopping at ‘La Ross’: Juárez residents hope Biden brings ‘return to normalcy’
More:DEA leader visits El Paso, talks cartels, COVID-19, Chapo and new most wanted drug lord