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Female gang boss, 22, is captured in Texas after cutting out the HEARTS of victims in Mexico as part of bloodthirsty rituals to the Holy Death saint


  • Michelle Pineda was apprehended by the FBI and U.S. Border Patrol in El Paso, Texas, last Thursday
  • Authorities raided her hotel and discovered two guns, knives, machetes and an unspecified amount of drugs, including fentanyl powder and pills
  • The 22-year-old, who is accused of five murders, is a member of ‘Artistas Asesinos,’ an enforcement unit of the Sinaloa Cartel

A Mexican woman wanted for a string of gang murders and dismembering her victims was arrested at a Texas motel by the FBI and U.S. Border Patrol.

Michelle Pineda was allegedly involved in five murders and suspected of playing a role in several other killings in the border town of Ciudad Juárez, the FBI said in a statement. 

The 22-year-old was notoriously known for dismembering the bodies of her victims and removing their hearts, which were placed on an altar in front of the ‘Santa Muerte’ (‘Holy Death’), a Mexican folk saint that is represented by a skeletal figure. 

Pineda had unlawfully crossed the United States-Mexico border and was running a drug trafficking ring for the ‘Artistas Asesinos’ street gang – a Sinaloa Cartel enforcement unit. 

Mexican national Michelle Pineda was arrested by the FBI and U.S. Border Patrol at an El Paso, Texas hotel last Thursday. The 22-year-old is accused of five murders and participating in several others with members of the Artistas Asesinos - a gang linked to the Sinaloa Cartel - in the border city of Ciudad Juárez

Mexican national Michelle Pineda was arrested by the FBI and U.S. Border Patrol at an El Paso, Texas hotel last Thursday. The 22-year-old is accused of five murders and participating in several others with members of the Artistas Asesinos – a gang linked to the Sinaloa Cartel – in the border city of Ciudad Juárez

Federal and local agents raided the hotel where Michelle Pineda was staying at and found two guns, knives, machetes and an unspecified amount of drugs, including fentanyl powder and pills

Federal and local agents raided the hotel where Michelle Pineda was staying at and found two guns, knives, machetes and an unspecified amount of drugs, including fentanyl powder and pills

Federal and local authorities learned last Thursday that she was in the country illegally and raided the motel during the early hours. 

Agents confiscated a shotgun, revolver, knives and machetes along with an unknown quantity of fentanyl powder and pills, cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin and Xanax. 

Pineda was taken into custody by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and then escorted to the border entry point by Border Patrol and FBI agents, who transferred her custody to the Chihuahua State Police and State Attorney General’s Office of Chihuahua.

‘Today’s deportation highlights the swift action of our agents and our significant partnerships by successfully taking a violent assassin off our streets and putting her back into the hands of Mexican law enforcement to be tried for her crimes,’ said John Morales, FBI El Paso special agent in charge. 

‘Working hand-in-hand with our partners whether in law enforcement, the private sector, and with foreign law enforcement agencies is paramount in order to keep people like Pineda from bringing violence and drugs into our lives and poisoning our communities.’

Pineda, suspected of participating in 20 murders, including five she has been charged for, was arrested in El Paso, Texas, last Thursday and handed over to Mexican authorities the following day

Pineda, suspected of participating in 20 murders, including five she has been charged for, was arrested in El Paso, Texas, last Thursday and handed over to Mexican authorities the following day

Pineda and Artistas Asesinos gang members reportedly murdered more than 20 people, whose bodies were dismembered and abandoned across Ciudad Juárez, according to the Chihuahua State Attorney General’s Office.

Pineda allegedly murdered a couple on November 24, 2003, and killed a man December 5.

The male victim’s neck was cut and his body was dismembered at a home and placed in bags that were found strewn in the border city.

Carlos Salas, who serves as the attorney general in Chihuahua’s northern zone, told El Diario de Juárez newspaper that Pineda’s criminal record dates to when she was just 13 years old.

‘This young woman grew up surrounded by violence, both inside her home and outside,’ he said. The time came when she became involved with the Artistas Asesinos … a structure in which she escalated very quickly.’

‘He was a priority objective for both countries, as a member of the criminal group,’ Salas added. ‘She was very versatile and operated on both sides of the border, she knew in many cases when the police were nearby and she fled in a timely manner from the places where they were already located and almost about to be arrested.’



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