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Authorities rescue 25 migrants imprisoned in 'La Empresa' stash house as transnational gang network spreads

Authorities in Juarez, Mexico arrested five individuals linked to suspected migrant stash house

Migrants | Shutterstock

March 5, 2024 8:30am

Updated: March 5, 2024 8:30am

Authorities in Juarez, Mexico apprehended five individuals in connection with a raid on a suspected migrant stash house this past weekend, according to reports.

The raid took place in the Cerrada del Parque neighborhood, south of El Paso’s Lower Valley. Acting on an anonymous tip, authorities discovered 25 migrants, believed to be from Central and South America, being held captive in the home.

Local news reports indicate that among the group of migrants rescued, there were eight women and at least two minors. Authorities released a photograph of the rescued migrants and linked some of their captors to members of the criminal group La Empresa.

The new arrests comes shortly after federal officials connected members of the violent Mexican drug gang to a separate migrant stash house raid in Sunland Park, New Mexico, last week. During the Feb. 6 operation, conducted with the participation of the U.S. Border Patrol, Homeland Security Investigations, and Sunland Park Police Department officers, 22 individuals from Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala were apprehended.

One of the drivers smuggling the migrants, whose vehicle had been observed at the targeted residence, claimed to be working directly with members of La Nueva Empresa, a transnational criminal organization based in Juarez, Mexico.

La Nueva Empresa, also known as La Empresa (The Company), emerged in 2018 from former members of the La Linea crime group, as well as the Aztecas and Mexicles gangs. The organization is among the new crime groups and alliances shaping the Juárez underworld, involving former rival gangs, according to U.S. law enforcement officials.

Luis Mendez, a reputed former member of the Barrio Azteca gang, is one of the founders of La Nueva Empresa crime organization and was arrested by the FBI in 2020 after a manhunt that lasted 10 years for his involvement in a crime that would become known as the U.S. Consulate murders.

Based on a DEA Intelligence report, disruptions within cartels like the Arellano-Felix Organization, LCT, and La Familia Michoacán (LFM) since 2014 have resulted in the emergence of splinter factions such as "La Empresa Nueva" (New Business) and the "Cartel Independiente de Michoacan" (Independent Cartel of Michoacan).

These groups represent remnants of the previously disrupted organizations. In regions of the United States still associated with the former LCT organization, illegal drug trade persists, often sourced from entities in the Michoacán, Mexico area.

Executive Editor

Gelet Martínez Fragela

Gelet Martínez Fragela is the founder and editor-in-chief of ADN America. She is a Cuban journalist, television producer, and political refugee who also founded ADN Cuba.