Mafia Wars, the attack in Artz Pedregal

The lines of investigation involve two hypotheses: the fight between criminal groups of Israel, and the involvement of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel

Mafia Wars, the attack in Artz Pedregal
A police car is parked near a crime scene where two Israeli men were shot dead, at a shopping mall in Mexico City, Mexico July 25, 2019 - Photo: Edgard Garrido/REUTERS
English 26/07/2019 21:48 Newsroom & Agencies Mexico City Rebekah F Ward & Dave Graham/REUTERS & Newsroom/EL UNIVERSAL Actualizada 22:10
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In less than 24 hours, the motive of the double murder of Israelis in a restaurant in the exclusive shopping center Artz Pedregal has drastically changed. Local authorities ruled out a crime of passion and are now focused in a gangland hit, in which they have two hypotheses: one is the fight between criminal groups of Israel, and the other involves the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG).

The participation of the Mexican cartel is the strongest one, according to the testimony of Esperanza “N,” who killed Benjamin Yeshurun Sutchi and the bodyguard Alon Azulay.

In her declarations before the Public Ministry, the woman revealed that she was a hitwoman and that for each “job” she earned MXN $5,000; she added that she did not know the victims and that she was hired along with other three persons from the South of Mexico City. The hitmen who participated in the shooting in the parking lot come from Jalisco.

In addition, it is known that there were other two persons involved (in total, seven persons participated): a woman that was with the victims, and another man who appears in the videos coordinating the attack.

One of the suspected accomplices shot and wounded a police officer outside the mall with a .223 caliber rifle before escaping the scene in a blue Nissan Versa, police said.

According to what Esperanza “N” said, she was with another suspect inside the restaurant Hunan when Benjamin and Alon arrived with a woman, who was the one who “set” them. After registering, the three asked for a table in the terrace and the aggressors waited for the signal to attack, which was the shooting occurred in the parking lot area to distract the security staff of the shopping center.

The 33-year-old woman, who was wearing a blonde wig, and her accomplice stood in front of the Israelis who they shot 5 times each, according to the necropsy in which a coup de grâce is detailed.

Sources close to the investigation revealed that the foreigners were closing a deal for high-caliber weapons they had acquired here; apparently, something went wrong and they paid with their lives.

The other line of investigation is related to a gangland hit of rival bands from Israel, according to The Jerusalem Post, who highlight that Benjamin Yeshurun Sutchi betrayed Erez Akrishevsky, who helped him to escape from prison and with whom he made several businesses with Mexican and Colombian drug cartels. Some days ago, Erez was arrested in Cancún and extradited to Israel.

Accordingly, The Times of Israel reported that one of the two victims was a “prominent figure in Israel’s criminal underworld, sparking suspicions that the killing was a gangland assassination.”

The Israeli newspaper said that “the deceased was a well-known Israeli crime boss (…) who had completed a lengthy prison sentence in Israel in February,” and it also reports that “Israeli police sources told the Ynet news site that there was ‘no doubt’ the murder was ‘commissioned by those with interest in Israel.’ Israeli police reportedly suspect that an Israeli criminal organization paid a local group in Mexico City to carry out the hit.”

The coordinated work of the investigating authorities established that the objective of the attack was Benjamin, who had criminal records in Israel and Mexico, as confirmed the embassy of that nation.

He is also pointed out as a weapons and drugs dealer to Central and South America, and is even linked to the the Beltrán Leyva cartel; as a matter of fact, in 2001 he was in charge of the retail sale of drugs in the area of Polanco and Santa Fe in Mexico City.

The investigations of the Mexico Attorney General (FGR) link him, too, with money laundering and the management of irregular casinos in the city.

Years after being in prison, he came back to Mexico, where he continued with money laundering and the administration of casinos.

According to the media outlet Enlace Judío, Yeshurun was arrested in the 90s, processed, and sentenced to 17 years in prison for being involved in the attempted murder of Many Aslan, son of the Israeli criminal Ezequiel Aslan.

Long considered relatively safe compared to elsewhere in Mexico, Mexico City has become increasingly plagued by lawlessness and turf wars between gangs.

The national murder tally in 2019 is on track to surpass last year’s record of over 29,000, in part due to an increase in the violence in the capital.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, a veteran leftist who took office in December, has vowed to tackle the problem.

Mexico City police said one of the two Israelis was pronounced dead at the scene, while the other died in hospital.



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