Narcos Deliver House of Death Christmas Present to ICE

Yet another body has turned up apparently linked to the House of Death mass murder.

This dark Christmas gift appears intended for the agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) who operated an informant inside a Juarez, Mexico, cell of the Vicente Carrillo Fuentes drug organization.

That informant, Guillermo Ramirez Peyro (otherwise known as “Lalo”) helped supervise the House of Death tortures and murders in Juarez that resulted in the deaths of up to 12 people. The murders were carried out with the knowledge of ICE agents and supervisors between August 2003 and mid-January 2004.

The El Paso Times reported the following on the incident:

U.S. law enforcement agencies were informed by their Mexican counterparts that a man found murdered in Juarez last month had the bloodied business cards of two U.S. agents taped to his forehead.

… The man had the cards of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent Raul Bencomo and of a DEA agent with the first name of Todd stuck to his forehead with masking tape.

One of the man's fingers had been cut off and shoved into his mouth, Juarez state police officials said.

[Law enforcers tell Narco News that a severed finger in the mouth is a message sent by narco-traffickers to indicate they believe the victim was a snitch who has now been silenced.]

… Because the ICE card was from Bencomo, the handler of a controversial former ICE informant known as "Lalo," lawyers involved in the case believe the message was intended for Lalo himself…

… Officials of ICE and DEA confirmed that they were told about the cards found on the … body by Mexican authorities, but said they were not part of any investigation.

… DEA spokesman Matthew Taylor said he didn't know exactly whose card was found on the body because more than one person named Todd works for the agency.

It isn't clear whether the slain man, in his 30s, was an informant.

… The man … had been beaten and shot multiple times, an autopsy found. He had a tattoo of a black panther on the right arm, police said.

As a note to this story, it should be pointed out that the DEA agent's card mentioned in the story might not, in fact, be the card of a DEA agent.

Sometimes law enforcers don't tell the press everything precisely as it happened. For example, why did the newspaper's sources provide Raul Bencomo's full name but not the full name of the alleged DEA agent? Both agents, it seems, could be compromised should their names appear in a newspaper in relation to this incident — if that indeed was the concern about withholding "Todd's" full name.

Now DEA does have agents in Juarez who undoubtedly cultivate informants. And it is possible that the El Paso Times agreed not to publish the alleged DEA agent's full name for some reason.

But in the event the DEA angle was thrown in as a red herring on this one by the sources who released the information to the media, it's worth mentioning that the name “Todd” does come up elsewhere in the House of Death case.

An ICE supervisor by the name of Todd Johnson also was part of the team that ran the House of Death investigation. And he did work closely with Ramirez Peyro at one point in that investigation, according to ICE sources.

In fact, Johnson is the ICE agent who called Assistant U.S. Attorney Juanita Fielden in El Paso to inform her that Ramirez Peyro had been busted for running dope across the border in New Mexico behind the backs of both ICE and DEA.

From a legal affidavit filed in federal court in El Paso by Fielden:

On the evening of June 28, 2003, I was contacted by ICE group supervisor (GS) Todd Johnson who advised me that a confidential informant (SA913-EP [Ramirez Peyro], hereinafter referred to as the CI) had been stopped at a U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint in Las Cruces, New Mexico in possession of approximately 100 pounds of marijuana which was concealed in his vehicle.

DEA deactivated Ramirez Peyro as an informant after that incident. ICE continued to use him.

About a month later, the first House of Death murder was carried out with Ramirez Peyro's participation.

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