CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico — Ten suspected gang members were found guilty Thursday in the killings of 12 women in this border city, which is infamous for hundreds of slayings of women during the last 11 years.
Three bus drivers, all thought to be loyal to a criminal gang known as Los Toltecas, were sentenced to 40 years in prison and a fourth was sentenced to 113 years for premeditated homicide, aggravated rape and criminal association in the slayings of six of the women.
Six members of another gang, Los Rebeldes, or The Rebels, got sentences ranging from 24 to 40 years for similar convictions in the deaths of a separate group of six victims, said Rene Medrano, a spokesman for the state attorney general's office in Chihuahua state, which includes Ciudad Juarez.
All of those sentenced were already in custody. The members of Los Rebeldes were arrested in 1996.
The members of Los Toltecas were arrested in 1999 after the reputed leader of their group, Jesus Manuel Guardado, alias El Tolteca, was identified by a 14-year-old girl as the man who sexually assaulted and tried to kill her.
Guardado was sentenced 113 years in prison, and the other four were sentenced to 40 years. The law says 40 years is the longest any inmate actually can be held behind bars.
One other alleged member of the group was found not guilty and released, Medrano said.
According to government tallies, more than 300 women have been killed in this city across the border from El Paso, Texas, since 1993, though human rights leaders say the number is much higher.
Most of the cases remain unsolved.
The convictions come three months after bus driver Victor Garcia Uribe was sentenced to 50 years in October for the deaths of eight women whose bodies were found in a vacant lot in Ciudad Juarez in 2001.