SAN DIEGO – The mother of an alleged 14-year-old assassin in Mexico has been charged with entering the United States illegally, according to a federal complaint filed Wednesday.
Border Patrol agents arrested Yolanda Lugo Jimenez at her San Diego home Monday night. According to the complaint, she told agents she is a Mexican citizen and not allowed to be in the United States.
A U.S. law enforcement official confirmed the 43-year-old woman is the mother of a boy who claims he carried out at least four executions for Mexican drug traffickers. The official was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
The boy, who authorities only name publicly as Edgar, was arrested last week with his 19-year-old sister as they tried to board a plane to Tijuana in an airport near Cuernavaca south of Mexico City.
The sister, Elizabeth Jimenez Lugo, told reporters in Mexico that the two planned to cross the border into San Diego to be with their mother. Soldiers also detained another sister, Lina Erika Jimenez Lugo, 23, who had driven them to the airport.
Mexican officials and the boy's family say he claims he was born in the United States even though he spent much of his childhood in Mexico.
But Embassy spokesman Alexander Featherstone said the boy's citizenship has not been determined, and U.S. officials met with the teen Monday to offer him consular assistance "in case he is a U.S. citizen."
Officials accuse the three siblings of working for the Cartel of the South Pacific, a branch of the splintered Beltran Leyva gang fighting for control of the central state of Morelos, where Cuernavaca is located.
No birth certificate for the boy is on file in San Diego County. Birth records show Elizabeth Jimenez Lugo was born in 1991 at Mercy Hospital and Medical Center in San Diego, and her sister, Lina Erika, is registered as having been born in Jiutepec, Mexico. Both records name Carmen Solis, born in 1926, as the mother and list no father.
Solis, who has since died, was their paternal grandmother who also raised Edgar in Jiutepec, according to a close relative who asked not to be named for fear of retaliation.
The relative said Edgar's father brought the boy with five siblings from San Diego back to Jiutepec, an industrial suburb of Cuernavaca, when he was still a baby.
After his arrest, the boy told reporters that he was kidnapped and forced to work for the cartel at age 11 and participated in at least four executions, though he said he was drugged and threatened.
Authorities have been looking for Edgar since videos appeared a month ago on the Internet showing teenagers, including one named "El Ponchis," claiming to work as drug cartel hit men.
The relative said the boy was nicknamed "Ponchi" by his family because he was a pudgy 4-year-old.