Eighth defendant in 2016 La Línea cartel murder, dismemberment heads to trial

Crime

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — The eighth out of nine people implicated in the kidnapping, beating, murder and dismemberment of a 33-year-old man in 2016 will head to trial in El Paso Monday morning.

Adrian Herrera is charged with Engaging in Organized Criminal Activity and Tampering with Physical Evidence connected to the murder of Anthony ‘Lazy’ Trejo in September 2016. Trejo’s body was found buried in three separate trash bags in a remote desert area off Railroad Drive on October 3, 2016.

Eight other people, including Roberto Favela, Erlinda Lujan, Romuldo Trujillo, Steven Ramirez, Phillip Esquer, Elvia Navarette, Michael Aceto, and George Bonales were all charged in connection to Trejo’s murder and dismemberment.

Arrest affidavits allege the group had links to a drug trafficking organization — specifically La Línea, the enforcement wing of the Juarez Cartel.

As KTSM previously reported, Trejo was allegedly kidnapped by the co-defendants, beaten with a barbell, and kept in Herrera’s Lower Valley apartment bathtub for a period of time in early September.

During the time he was kept in the bathtub, the co-defendants allegedly brought in ‘multiple people’ to show them Trejo’s body as a warning.

Six other defendants have taken plea deals in the case already, Herrera will be the second to face a jury, meaning the informants who came to police to break the case open may be forced to testify in open court.

A jury was seated for the trial on Friday, with opening statements scheduled for Monday in the 409th District Court, Judge Sam Medrano presiding.

The other co-defendants’ court statuses are as follows:

  1. Roberto Favela – Pleaded guilty to Murder in February 2017, sentenced to 30 years in prison.
  2. Steven Ramirez – Pleaded guilty to Engaging in Organized Criminal Activity in February 2017, sentenced to 20 years in prison.
  3. Romuldo Trujillo – Pleaded guilty to Engaging in Organized Criminal Activity in July 2019, sentenced to 25 years in prison.
  4. Erlinda Lujan – Charged with Engaging in Criminal Activity, Tampering with Physical Evidence. No court date has been set.
  5. Phillip Esquer – Found guilty by a jury of Engaging in Organized Criminal Activity in October 2017, sentenced to 15 years in prison.
  6. Elvira Navarette – Pleaded guilty to Attempt to Commit Tampering with Evidence in April 2017, sentenced to six months in the El Paso County Detention Center
  7. Michael Aceto – Pleaded guilty to Tampering with Physical Evidence in June 2017, sentenced to 10 years in prison
  8. George Bonales – Pleaded guilty to Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon and Tampering with Evidence in March 2019, sentenced to five years in prison.

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