Fugitive Mexicle gang leader killed in shootout with police

Juarez police say city is safe after businesses were set on fire after ‘El Neto’ was violently destroyed

EL PASO, TX (border report). On Thursday, Mexican officials reported the capture and death of fugitive Mexicles gang leader Ernesto Alfredo Pignon de la Cruz, also known as “El Neto”, during a shootout in Central Juarez.

The Attorney General’s Office of the State of Chihuahua said that during the arrest, the fugitive received bullet wounds. The AG office later confirmed that Pinon died from his injuries.

The Juárez newspaper published leaked photographs of Piñón’s body lying in the back of a white pickup truck covered in blood. The picture shows his face with his hands cuffed behind his back. The photo appears to have been taken later.

Piñón is being blamed by Mexican authorities for the forced New Year’s Eve break from Cerezo 3 State Prison in Juarez, which killed 10 state security officers and seven prisoners. Two more state police officers were killed the next day in a shootout with alleged gang members while searching for “El Neto” and the other 29 prisoners who had escaped on January 1.

Chihuahua State Police found the lead fugitive at a home in the Los Aztecas neighborhood of Juarez in the wee hours of Thursday.

“The capture of Ernesto Pignon occurred after a shootout in a house, from where the car fled to a gas station, where it crashed. There (Pignon) shot at the police, was severely wounded and later died,” as he was being taken to the police station, the Prosecutor General’s Office said in a statement hours after the incident.

Police said they seized an armored BMW car, eight rifles and five bulletproof vests.

Alleged members of the Mexicles gang soon after set fire to an unspecified number of businesses in apparent retaliation for the arrest and murder of their leader. Chihuahua state officials said there were no more arson attacks since early Thursday.

Authorities said more information would be provided later in the day.

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