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14-year-old boy dubbed "El Chapito" arrested for 8 drug-related murders in Mexico

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Mexico City — Mexican authorities have arrested a 14-year-old boy nicknamed "El Chapito" for the drug-related killing of eight people near Mexico City, the federal Public Safety Department said Thursday. The boy allegedly rode up on a motorcycle and opened fire on a family in the low-income Mexico City suburb of Chimalhuacan.

Another man was also arrested in the Jan. 22 killings, and seven other members of the gang were arrested on drug charges.

An aerial view of the municipal garbage dump (bottom) and the Escalerillas neighborhood in Chimalhuacan, a low-income suburb of Mexico City, Mexico, February 24, 2021. ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP/Getty

The victims were holding a party at their house at the time of the attack, which also left five adults and two children wounded. It was reportedly a birthday party.

The boy's name was not released, but his nickname — "Little Chapo" — is an apparent reference to imprisoned drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman. El Chapo has been serving a life sentence in a "supermax" maximum security prison in Colorado since his 2019 conviction on charges including drug trafficking, money laundering and weapons-related offenses. 

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The motive in the killings has not been made public, but drug gangs in Mexico frequently dabble in kidnapping and contract killing. They also kill rivals selling drugs on their territory, or people who owe them money.

Mexico is no stranger to child killers.

In 2010, soldiers detained a 14-year-old boy nicknamed "El Ponchis" who claimed he was kidnapped at age 11 and forced to work for the Cartel of the South Pacific, a branch of the splintered Beltran Leyva gang. He said he had participated in at least four decapitations.

After his arrest, the boy, who authorities identified only by his first name, Edgar, told reporters that he was drugged and threatened into committing the crimes.

Also Thursday, prosecutors in the northern border state of Sonora said they had arrested a woman linked to as many as nine murders in the border city of Mexicali.

The state prosecutors' office said that the woman had outstanding warrants for two killings, but that she had been named in seven other homicide investigations. The office did not say what the possible motives might be in those killings.

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