Barrio Azteca Gang Shows How Crime Transcends Borders


An alleged leader of a prominent gang based in El Paso, Texas, was convicted in federal court last month in the murder of two United States citizens. The killings happened in Ciudad Juárez, across the border in Mexico.

The trial showed the inner workings of the Barrio Azteca, a gang that profits from the international drug trade.

At a billiards bar in west El Paso, men in cowboy boots guzzle Mexican beer and shoot pool to the beat of American hip-hop.

A stocky bouncer in a polo shirt greets customers. This pool hall happens to be a hang-out of the Barrio Azteca gang.

“The Barrio Azteca are everywhere,” said Detective Jeff Gibson of the El Paso County Sheriff’s Department. “Many of them you’d never know. They dress well, they eat in family restaurants the same as we would.”