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Barrio Azteca gang leader gets 10 life prison sentences for ordering U.S. consulate killings

By: Melissa Gundersen
EL PASO, Texas -- A Barrio Azteca gang leader found guilty of ordering the killings of three people with ties to the U.S. Consulate in Juarez, Mexico will spend the rest of his life in federal prison.

Federal Judge Kathleen Cardone sentenced Arturo Gallegos Castrellon to 10 life prison sentences Thursday morning. He was also ordered to pay $998,840.20 in restitution, along with other court fees.

While Castrellon's defense attorney Randolph Ortega immediately filed for appeal, prosecutor John Gibson said the streets just got a little safer.

"We're very happy with the judge's sentence. This is a very dangerous man who caused a lot of damage. So I think it's a good day," said Gibson.

The courtroom filled up within a matter of minutes with Castrellon's family members as well as the victims' families. When given the opportunity to apologize or simply say anything at all Castrellon said "no" and then stayed quiet.

Jurors previously found Castrellon guilty of ordering the killing of U.S. Consulate employee Leslie Ann Enriquez, her husband Arthur Redelfs and Alberto Salcido Ceniceros, the husband of another consulate employee. In March, 2010 the three were gunned down in the streets of Juarez after leaving a children's birthday party.

"I understand it was just another day of business for Mr. Castrellon, but it was much more to me," said Reuben Redelfs, Arthur Redelfs' brother. "It's taken a while. I mean, I was very angry. I'm past that and I'm no longer angry. I want peace and this is the only way to have peace."

Forgiveness is the message Reuben Redelfs passed on to Castrellon Thursday, right before Castrellon learned his fate.

In an exclusive interview with KFOX14, Reuben Redelfs said his then 7-month-old niece was in the car and witnessed the whole thing.

"She's doing well. Rebecca is 4 going on 5 and she's a beautiful little girl and we're so blessed to have her," said Reuben Redelfs.

According to family, Rebecca doesn't know how her parents passed -- that's a conversation for a later time. For the rest of the family, though, the tragedy is something they can't forget.

"They were just the kindest people; they were nice to everybody, everybody. And like I said in the courtroom they had no enemies, they were loved by all," said Reuben Redelfs.

Gibson said this probably isn't the last time a Barrio Azteca gang member will see their day in court. He said law enforcement is cracking down on the gang and continues to investigate.