Juárez drug cartel leader gets life in US consulate killings

José Antonio Acosta Hernández AKA “El Diego”—purported leader of La Linea criminal organization, who has been linked to some 1,500 homicides in Mexico—was sentenced to 10 life terms April 5 in El Paso after pleading guilty to the slayings of three people tied to the US Consulate in Ciudad Juárez. Acosta also admitted ordering the massacre of 15 young people in the Mexican border city’s Villas de Salvarcar neighborhood, and a car bombing in downtown Juárez. Acosta also pleaded guilty to racketeering, narcotics trafficking, and money laundering charges. US District Judge Kathleen Cardone sentenced him to seven concurrent life terms, three additional consecutive life terms, and 20 years in federal prison.

La Linea, referred to by US federal authorities as the “Barrio Azteca gang,” is a faction of the splintered Juárez Cartel. Mexican authorities arrested Acosta Hernández in July 2011 after a shootout with federal police in Chihuahua City. He was extradited to the US on March 16. The US Marshals Service said Acosta—also known as “Dientón,” “Diez” and “Blablazo“—is being held at a secret location in El Paso as he awaits transfer to a top-security federal prison. (El Paso Times, El Diario de El Paso, FBI press release, April 6)

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