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9:30am — Reputed Gang Leader on FBI’s ‘Most Wanted’ List

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Reputed head of El Paso-based Barrio Azteca gang believed to be hiding in Juarez.

Eduardo “Tablas” Ravelo, 41, a reputed leader of the El Paso-based Barrio Azteca prison gang who is suspected of ordering murders, drug smuggling and working for the Juarez drug cartel, joined al-Qaida terrorist Osama bin Laden on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted List Tuesday, the El Paso Times reported.

The FBI is offering a $100,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of Ravelo, who was indicted last year as part of a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) case against the gang and was mentioned prominently in last year’s RICO trial that resulted in nine guilty pleas and six convictions of gang leaders, members and associates, the Times said.

While FBI agents and police cracked down on Barrio Azteca in El Paso, Ravelo was reportedly hiding in Juarez, surrounded by bodyguards, the paper reported.

“He’s the one that controls Juarez,” ex-gang member Gustavo Gallardo testified last year about Ravelo, according to the Times.

The El Paso-based prison gang at one point claimed some 3,000 members across the U.S. Southwest and Mexico, but the FBI said this week that the gang has about 600 active members today, the Times said.

Ravelo was described by FBI agents and former gang members as a ruthless gangster who rose throught the organization’s military-style hierarchy to the top rank of capo, or leader of the organization, the paper reported.

Court testimony revealed that Ravelo allegedly works for La Linea, or Juarez drug cartel, which provides Aztecas with drugs in exchange for carrying out kidnappings, murders and other tasks in the U.S. and Mexico, according to the Times.

Ravelo is the first El Paso area fugitive to make the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted list since 1969, when convicted serial bank robber Benjamin H. Paddock escaped from La Tuna federal prison and remained on the list until 1977.

Paddock, who was known as “Chrome Dome” for his shaved head, was captured in 1978 in Oregon where he was running a bingo parlor, the Times said.

 

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