Mexican Police Find Support Against Prison Gang

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EL PASO, Texas -- The scene brought international attention. A Mexican police officer was holding a 7-month-old baby in his arms.

That baby's parents, Leslie Henriquez and her husband Arthur Redelfs, had been attending a birthday party in Juarez, Mexico, just across the border from El Paso, Texas. The two were executed by gunmen while in their SUV.

Henriquez worked for the U.S. Consulate in Juarez. Redelfs was a detention officer for the El Paso County Sheriff's Department.

World's Most Violent City

Juarez is the most violent city in the world. More than 4,500 people have been executed here in the past two years. The city has been engulfed by a violent drug war between the government of Mexico and rival drug cartels.

Dozens are executed here everyday.

"There has always been some type of corruption in Mexico, but the violence has never been as bad as it is now," said retired El Paso County Sheriff Jimmy Apodaca.

Apodaca spent 45 years in law enforcement in El Paso. He said what is happening now puts law enforcement at even greater risk.

"They are always testing and want to know how they can bring the drugs across better and how they can scare the law enforcement people," Apodaca said.

So far, the Mexican drug cartels have not directly taken on American law enforcement. But that could change.

A bulletin obtained by CBN News from the Department of Homeland Security to El Paso police, highlights that danger.

According to the bulletin, the Barrio Azteca gang may issue a "green light," authorizing the attempted murder of law enforcement officers, or LEOs.

The Barrio Aztecas are a cross-border prison gang. They work closely with the Juarez drug cartel. Mexican authorities believe Aztecas carried out the hit that killed Enriquez and Redelfs.

A New 'Posse' in Town

Days after the executions, law enforcement throughout El Paso area rounded up Barrio Azteca gang members with outstanding warrants on the U.S. side.

"I won't be surprised that they're targeted here," said Pam Faraone, founder of The Border Sheriff's Posse, a Christian group whose sole purpose is to pray for law enforcement along the border.

Faraone told CBN News she would not put it past the cartels to take a shot at El Paso police.  She said she founded the Posse after she read an e-mail with seven simple words: "Please ask people to pray for us."

The sheriff of Hudspeth County, Texas sent that e-mail. His deputies had been threatened by cartel members.

"Somebody encountered a wife in a grocery store and said, 'We know where you live. We know where your children go to school. You tell your husband to stop this,'" Faraone said.

Lifting Up Law Enforcement 

From that moment on, Faraone made it her mission to lift up border law enforcement.

"We're vulnerable, they're vulnerable," Faraone said.

"There's power in prayer, there's more power in more prayer, and there is much power in much prayer," Apodaca said.

And much prayer is needed in a city where nearly half a million people have already fled to escape the ever growing lawlessness.

"We are called to stand with law enforcement, to ride the borders in intercession, and to support them on the front lines," Faraone said.

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Ben Swann

Ben Swann

Special to CBN News

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