A joint operation between the Mexican army, the Chihuahua State Attorney General, and the Mexican Attorney General’s office led to the arrest of one of the men who allegedly participated in the kidnapping and murder of several American citizens in Chihuahua.
Authorities said the offices of the state attorney general in Nuevas Casas Grandes received an anonymous tip on the whereabouts of Ubaldo Ivan Rohan Nunez. After he was arrested, Nunez confessed that he was a member of the Juarez Drug Cartel.
Nunez also said that he participated in the kidnapping of Erick Lebaron Ray on July 7, 2009; as well as the kidnapping of Benjamin Lebaron Ray and Luis Carlos Whitman Stubbs on May 2, 2009. Benjamin Lebaron and Stubbs were later found dead by authorities. The kidnappings took place in the town of Lebaron, which is within the municipality of Galeana, Chihuahua.
At the time of his arrest, Nunez was allegedly in possession of an automatic assault rifle that only the Mexican Federal Police and the Mexican armed forces are allowed to carry.
Nunez told investigators that he would sell cocaine for the Juarez Cartel in the town of San Buenaventura with the help of his uncle, Jaime Gonzalez-Pinon, who also worked for Juarez Drug Cartel.
According to Nunez, Gonzalez-Pinon planned the kidnapping of the Lebaron brothers and Stubbs because he and one of his superiors had a fallout with one of their relatives, Joel Lebaron.
Investigators said that prior to the arrest of Nunez, another suspect, Carlos Butchereit, provided information on the kidnappings and murders after he was arrested. Butchereit allegedly told investigators that the nephew of Gonzalez-Pinon, Nunez, told him that he participated in the kidnappings and murders. Butchereit also gave investigators the names of several other suspects that participated in the kidnappings.
The Lebaron family paid a ransom of $16,400 for the release of Erick Lebaron, according to Butchereit. He also told investigators that Gonzalez-Pinon was under orders from a superior in the Juarez Cartel to kidnap the Lebarons. Butchereit identified that man as Oscar Carrasco Celis.
The Lebarons and Stubbs were dual American and Mexican nationals. When Benjamin Lebaron and Stubbs were found murdered, the community of Lebaron united in protests against the state and federal governments. They demanded that more be done to protect the residents of Lebaron from rampant extortion and kidnappings.