JUAREZ, Mexico (Border Report) — Chihuahua authorities say a suspected mass murderer now in custody also smuggled U.S. guns into Mexico on behalf of a major drug gang.

Juarez police last week arrested Luis Ernesto Castro and an unidentified man for possession of marijuana. But Castro, also known as “El Alaska” (The Alaskan), was wanted in connection with the murder of a former Juarez policewoman, so he was turned over to state authorities.

Deputy Chihuahua Attorney General Jorge Nava says police suspect Castro of murdering at least 12 people. Castro is an alleged member of the Aztecas drug gang and one of its main gun suppliers, Nava said.

“He’s only 23 years old but he has a long criminal history in Juarez. He participated in violent acts including abduction and 12 murders in addition to ordering others to commit crimes,” Nava said Tuesday in a teleconference.

Luis Ernesto Castro, a.k.a. The Alaskan, is a suspect in 12 murders in Juarez. (photos courtesy State of Chihuahua)

The deputy attorney general said his office is sharing information with U.S. authorities regarding Castro’s weapons-trafficking activity.

One of his alleged victims is a woman whose body was found in a clandestine grave in June of 2019. She was later identified as Jaqueline Gonzalez Mercado, a former Juarez police officer.

Police also found two buried bodies in a house allegedly owned by Castro, Nava said.

The Aztecas are one of the principal street-level drug gangs operating in Juarez and are known contract enforcers for the La Linea drug cartel. Like their nemesis, a gang known as Mexicles, the Aztecas have a reputation for extreme violence.

In Castro’s case, the violence may have extended beyond the grave, as Chihuahua officials say he dressed some of his victims in women’s clothes as a final insult.

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