Teenage hitman for Mexican cartels returns to U.S.

 Edgar Jimenez Lugo (center) alias "El Ponchis," talks to journalists in Cuernavaca, Mexico, in December 2010. The 14-year-old, a U.S. citizen, told reporters he slit the throats of four people.

Margarito Perez/Reuters

Edgar Jimenez Lugo, center, also known as”El Ponchis,” talks to journalists in Cuernavaca, Mexico, in December 2010. The admitted teenage hitman served a three-year sentence for killing for a drug cartel, and is now bound for his native U.S.

At age 14, pushed in front of TV cameras by Mexican authorities, a boy born in the U.S. admitted in a soft, flat voice that he had killed on behalf of drug cartels.

He was asked how many. “Four,” he replied. He was asked how. “I slit their throats,” he answered.

Now 17, Edgar Jimenez Lugo, alias “El Ponchis” (The Husky), was a free teenager Tuesday.

Released by Mexican authorities after serving a three-year juvenile sentence for murder, kidnapping and weapons possession, Lugo was put on a plane bound for El Paso, where his mother lives.

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Once in the U.S., Lugo will be sent to a “support center,” according to Jorge Vicente Messeguer, government secretary of Morelos state.

Lugo served his sentence there. It was the maximum allowable under Mexican juvenile offender laws.

In a statement, the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City said Tuesday that officials were aware Lugo was being released.

“Due to privacy considerations, we do not publicly discuss details of matters involving U.S. citizens,” it said.

Edgar Jimenez Lugo was arrested at age 14 with other teens who were assassins for a drug cartel, police said.

© Margarito Perez / Reuters/REUTERS

Edgar Jimenez Lugo was arrested at age 14 with other teens who were assassins for a drug cartel, police said.

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Lugo was born in San Diego but was sent to Mexico to live with his grandmother because his parents fought violently. He was kidnapped by members of the Beltran Leyva cartel at age 11, he told authorities. He was drugged and told that if he did not kill on command, he would be killed himself.

He was arrested at age 14 as he attempted to slip into the U.S., carrying a phone that contained images of tortured victims.

His case became highly publicized as a grisly example of how cartels turned children into killers.

“They drugged me and forced me to do it,” Lugo told reporters after his arrest.

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Morelos Gov. Graco Ramirez told Mexico’s Melenio TV Tuesday that “leaving him in Morelos would have been too risky for his life. He knew it would be hard to survive due to everything he knew and did.”

Lugo admitted to police that he helped kill the four people, and then participated in decapitating them. Their bodies were hung from a highway sign as warnings to rival cartels.

With News Wire Services

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Nation / World – NY Daily News

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