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Court Documents Link ‘Death House’ to High-Ranking U.S. Officials

Posted on Dec 2, 2006
death house

Twelve bodies were found buried outside the “death house” (above) in Ciudad Juarez.

The Observer’s online edition says it has obtained documents that show U.S. officials allowed a drug informant to continue a campaign of murder in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, so as to preserve his ability to share information.  At least 12 people were killed, with knowledge of the murderer allegedly extending into the upper echelons of American power.  Thanks to Cynthia Marler-Wills for the tip.


Luis Padilla, 29, father of three, had been kidnapped, driven across the Mexican border from El Paso, Texas, to a house in Ciudad Juarez, the lawless city ruled by drug lords that lies across the Rio Grande. As his wife tried frantically to locate him, he was being stripped, tortured and buried in a mass grave in the garden - what the people of Juarez call a narco-fossa, a narco-smugglers’ tomb.

Just another casualty of Mexico’s drug wars? Perhaps. But Padilla had no connection with the drugs trade; he seems to have been the victim of a case of mistaken identity. Now, as a result of documents disclosed in three separate court cases, it is becoming clear that his murder, along with at least 11 further brutal killings, at the Juarez ‘House of Death’, is part of a gruesome scandal, a web of connivance and cover-up stretching from the wild Texas borderland to top Washington officials close to President Bush.

These documents, which form a dossier several inches thick, are the main source for the facts in this article. They suggest that while the eyes of the world have been largely averted, America’s ‘war on drugs’ has moved to a new phase of cynicism and amorality, in which the loss of human life has lost all importance - especially if the victims are Hispanic. The US agencies and officials in this saga - all of which refused to comment, citing pending lawsuits - appear to have thought it more important to get information about drugs trafficking than to stop its perpetrators killing people.

The US media have virtually ignored this story. The Observer is the first newspaper to have spoken to Janet Padilla, and this is the first narrative account to appear in print. The story turns on one extraordinary fact: playing a central role in the House of Death was a US government informant, Guillermo Ramirez Peyro, known as Lalo, who was paid more than $220,000 (110,000) by US law enforcement bodies to work as a spy inside the Juarez cartel. In August 2003 Lalo bought the quicklime used to dissolve the flesh of the first victim, Mexican lawyer Fernando Reyes, and then helped to kill him; he recorded the murder secretly with a bug supplied by his handlers - agents from the Immigration and Customs Executive (Ice), part of the Department of Homeland Security. That first killing threw the Ice staff in El Paso into a panic. Their informant had helped to commit first-degree murder, and they feared they would have to end his contract and abort the operations for which he was being used. But the Department of Justice told them to proceed.


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By molly molloy, December 4, 2006 at 8:20 pm Link to this comment
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While the London Observer may be the first big English-language news source to write this, the real investigative reporting has been posted online for YEARS by Bill Conroy at the Narco News Bulletin:

Most of the US government documents behind this story were obtained by Conroy’s FOIA filings and have been archived on the Narco News site. It’s good to see more attention paid to this story, but give the credit where due.

In addition, the top Mexican magazine Proceso,  covered the story in October: Corrupción en agencias estadunidenses
por: J. Jesús Esquivel
Oct 15, 2006 | 1445 palabras

And also by the Juarez investigative site:

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

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By Quy Tran, December 4, 2006 at 6:45 pm Link to this comment
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We just ask ourself that who’re terrorists ?

The war against terrorists became big farce.

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By jackie, December 4, 2006 at 4:34 am Link to this comment
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Hmmm, aren’t the US government holding someone with the same (Padilla) last name as part of the war on terror…Is there any connection?

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By archeon, December 3, 2006 at 12:41 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Is this for real?
I don’t understand why I haven’t heard more of this on CNN or MSNBC, seems this would be a major breakdown of american justice.

It is time that there was a sweeping house clearing in the US government and departments….

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By martin weiss, December 3, 2006 at 10:46 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

follow the money.

there’s a reason marijuana is illegal. money.
Pot is certainly less destructive than alcohol or tobacco. There’s no medical or social source for the prohibition. Pot users are noncombative, unlike alcohol users. There’s less risk to public safety—pot users do not become incompetent at mechanical tasks. Consumption is small-scale, no one smokes compulsively without falling asleep.
So, why the prohibition?

Now here’s the likely result of legalization: Hemp is the oil for which the diesel engine was designed. Legalizing hemp (pot) would hurt the oil companies, hurt the big agro-corporations (since pot is a stubborn weed, which will grow on any patch of soil without chemical fertilizers or patented genetic modifications and enable farmers to grow their own tractor fuel), save the forests from being cut for toilet paper and mulch, hurt the economy of the Mexican nation,  put a serious hurt on the alcohol distributors, and cut into funds for the support of US military operations in central and South America. Not to mention starving our terrorist-supporting “allies” of our petro-dollars.
Non-toxic hemp oil as diesel fuel, in one year, would hurt the Saudis and the Iranians more, economically, than a military invasion.
Here we go, again. The military-industrial complex.
Thanks, Gen. Eisenhower, for enabling all us conspiracy nuts to say that phrase without appearing to be totally clueless.

Take the profit out of war,(and drugs)and millions of folks would live who otherwise will die so that someone can buy a new boat, a new house, a bigger retirement fund, a bigger ranch in Texas, or an offshore bank.

My personal theory of populist economics says that if we put money in the hands of working people, the economy will prosper—concentrate wealth in the hands of banks and corporations, and people will be exploited.
Working people give money value by trading their time for it. Working people create wealth, not banks. Without folks using it, it’s just so much paper and numbers.

Yes, boys and girls, there’s profit in killing people.
Guns and ammo—use it once and it throws itself away! The ultimate consumer item, totally disposable, like the lives taken to obtain those dollars.

Wake up and smell the gunpowder.

There’s one group which has an incentive to make life cheap: bankers, corporations and the military. No wonder they claim such passionate Christianity. They have to compensate for their belief that killing people solves problems. Unfortunately, the trail of evidence leads to their door—only THEIR problems are solved by killing people.
follow the money.
martin s. weiss
mexico, mo

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