Friday, February 23, 2024

Michelle Angelica Pineda Valdez, Suspected Serial Killer Cartel Gangster – 2024, Mexico


JUAREZ, Mexico (Border Report) – Two Mexican judges say they have sufficient evidence to hold for trial a 22-year-old woman accused of orchestrating several murders, dismembering and cutting out the victims’ hearts in some cases.

 Michelle Angelica Pineda Valdez, aka “La Chely,” will remain behind bars at Cereso No. 3 prison in Juarez through May 21. That’s the deadline Chihuahua State District Judge Fabiola Dominguez on Wednesday gave prosecutors and defense attorneys to present evidence and supporting arguments in a multiple homicide case.

The FBI’s Safe Street Task Force on Feb. 15 arrested Pineda in an El Paso, Texas, motel room where she allegedly kept a cache of drugs and weapons. Task force members found fentanyl pills, Xanax tablets, heroin, cocaine and meth inside the room, as well as several firearms and machetes. U.S. authorities identified Pineda as a member of the Artistas Asesinos gang known in Juarez for utilizing extreme violence on rivals.

The U.S. Border Patrol and the FBI handed her over to Mexican authorities. Pineda reportedly had crossed the border illegally to evade prosecution in Mexico in connection to three murders and suspicions of being involved in more than other 20 homicides.

The U.S. Border Patrol and the FBI hand over Michelle Angelica Pineda Valdez, aka “La Chely,” to Mexican authorities at an international bridge in Downtown El Paso. (U.S. Border Patrol)

On Wednesday, “La Chely” appeared in a courtroom adjacent to Ceredo prison to answer for the Nov. 24 murders of a former prison cellmate and an Uber driver. Wearing a prison-issued gray sweatsuit, tennis shoes and her black hair in a bun, Pineda sat quietly throughout the procedure as the judge reviewed evidence in the case.

Testimony from two alleged co-conspirators – a woman named Joanna and a man named Jorge, both also reputed members of Artistas Asesinos – and a protected witness only identified as “B,” has it that Pineda led a gang cell under the direction of a prison inmate known by the nickname of “Niko” or “El Daga” (The Dagger).

On Nov. 24, the boss in charge of the Doblados, as the Artistas Asesinos are also known, called Pineda from inside Cereso prison and instructed her to abduct a woman, according to testimony. The victim later identified as Alejandra Samaniego Garcia, hired a vehicle from a ride-share platform and went to the home of her former cellmate that night.

Once there, the boss allegedly remotely instructed Pineda to seize Samaniego’s cellphone and find out if she knew anything about the recent murder of his daughter. According to witness statements read out loud by the judge, Pineda ordered several gang members present at her house on Calle Hacienda de Medina to subdue and tie up Samaniego while she searched for conversations on the phone.

The gang members grew leery of the driver waiting outside for Samaniego and violently brought him in for questioning. According to testimony, the gang members beat driver Armando Rivera Morales while demanding that he confess to being a member of the rival Mexicles gang.

After again consulting with the man known as Niko or Daga, Pineda placed a plastic bag over Samaniego’s head and held an electrical cable around her neck until she died, according to testimony. Other gang members asphyxiated the driver even as they struck him in the head.

The Doblados then took the driver’s red Nissan and drove the bodies to another neighborhood, where they dumped them on the street as Pineda allegedly followed them in her own vehicle, according to court testimony.

A search warrant executed by police a few days later at Pineda’s home resulted in the seizure of several knives, machetes, drugs and two decomposing human hearts in plastic bags. The hearts allegedly were meant as an offering to the Santa Muerte, or Holy Death, whom many drug traffickers hold as a patron saint.

The witnesses did not specify if Pineda kept the hearts on her own initiative or on orders from the Doblados boss. They did testify they knew Pineda had dismembered homicide victims in the past so their bodies could be disposed of more easily in plastic bags.

Dominguez on Wednesday said she had enough evidence to presume Pineda is probably responsible for the homicides she is accused of committing. She gave a public defender and prosecutors three months to present further findings. The judge will determine Pineda’s guilt or innocence, as Chihuahua does not have jury trials.

In Chihuahua, inflicting injuries that lead to death is a crime punishable with up to 25 years in prison, Dominguez said. The maximum penalty for aggravated homicide is 25 to 50 years.

Neither Pineda nor her attorney challenged the evidence on Wednesday. When the judge asked Pineda if she had anything to say, the woman asked for food and said she had only been fed pineapple juice all day and given a pill for morning sickness.

“You are pregnant?” the judge asked.

“Yes,” Pineda said.

The judge ordered Pineda fed before her next hearing.

Later Wednesday afternoon, a separate judge also ordered her to stand trial for a Dec. 5 homicide. In that one, the victim was dismembered, his internal organs placed next to the Santa Muerte.

No family members were present at either of Pineda’s hearings. The woman has been in trouble with the law since age 13, according to investigators.

[Julian Resendiz, “Woman who allegedly murdered and dismembered gang rivals held for trial.” Border Report, Feb 22, 2024]

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