La Linea drug cartel linked to killing of 5 rideshare drivers
3 mins read

La Linea drug cartel linked to killing of 5 rideshare drivers

EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – The search has ended for five rideshare drivers who have been missing since May 30 in a Mexican border city.

The Chihuahua Attorney General’s Office confirmed that the five bodies found Friday near a highway in Chihuahua City were identified as Abigael Ramos Gonzalez, Abigael Ramos Torres, Fabian Ramos Torres, Sandra Salais Calzadillas and Francisco Ivan Flores Hernandez.

Their identities were established based on dental records and fingerprints. Autopsies revealed fatal gunshot wounds to the base of each victim’s skull, the AG’s office said in a statement.

The five apparently disappeared after taking tickets from the state capital to Ojinaga, Mexico, across the border from Presidio, Texas. Ojinaga made global headlines in 2021 when a drug cartel abducted and killed 13 Mexicans from another gang as part of an ongoing turf war over migrant smuggling.

How the bodies of the rideshare drivers ended up back in the city of Chihuahua, a three-hour drive from Ojinaga, remains a mystery, but state officials say they are close to answers.

“We certainly have a direction for the investigation, we have a motive and we have a criminal group (identified). The investigation is ongoing,” state Attorney General Cesar Jauregui said on Monday.

He declined to provide further details. Mexican media, citing law enforcement officials in Chihuahua on Monday, reported that the criminal group Jauregui mentioned was La Linea and said the motive was to take migrants to the border without the cartel’s consent.

La Linea is believed to be responsible for the November 4, 2019 massacre of nine American citizens, including six children, near the Sonora-Chihuahua border. In 2022, a U.S. federal judge in North Dakota issued a historic $4.6 billion judgment against La Linea in a civil lawsuit brought by the victims’ relatives.

Border Report attempted to contact some of Abigael Ramos Torres’ relatives for comment, but their social media profiles no longer allowed messages outside their social circles.

Some Chihuahua state officials say organized crime groups are taking advantage of Mexico’s nebulous immigration policies to prey on migrants and make everything related to their movement risky.

“We don’t know who is in the state, who is passing through the state, who is truly missing or who has entered the United States,” said Gilberto Loya, Chihuahua’s public safety director. “I am not saying that migration is criminalized, no. What I am saying is that the lack of immigration controls makes it unsafe for migrants to cross into any state. And this is directly related to the issue of kidnappings or criminal groups stealing (mutual) migrants. We don’t know who is here and the criminals are using this to kidnap and extort them.”
(ProVideo in Chihuahua, Mexico contributed to this report.)