A Mexican woman who was an alleged assassin known as “La Chely” was arrested last month at a motel in El Paso, Texas, for her involvement in multiple murders.

The FBI said in a press release that agents from the El Paso field office’s Street Gang Task Force, as well as agents from the U.S. Border Patrol, arrested Michelle Angelica Pineda at the motel.

Pineda — a Mexican national wanted by the Mexican government for her alleged involvement in five homicides — is also suspected of being involved in multiple other homicides in the Chihuahua state city of Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, just south of El Paso.

The FBI said Pineda was known for her extreme brutality, as she would sometimes dismember bodies, remove hearts and place thenmin front of “Santa Muerte” or “death saint” altars and statues.

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The underworld saint is associated with the violent drug cartel trade, as the shrine is reportedly worshiped by Mexican drug cartel members who pray to it for their protection. The presence of the shrine highlights the connection between cross-border human smuggling and Mexico’s drug cartels. 

Members of the task force, as well as from the El Paso Police Department, El Paso County Sheriff’s Office and U.S. Border Patrol discovered on Feb. 15 that Pineda entered the U.S. illegally and was running a drug-trafficking operation for the Mexican gang, “Artistas Assessino,” or “Assassin Artists.”

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An operation was executed early that morning to take Pineda into custody in her motel room. There, agents reportedly found several guns, machetes, fentanyl pills, powdered fentanyl, heroin, cocaine, Xanax and methamphetamine.

She was ultimately arrested by the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) before its agents and agents from the FBI escorted Pineda to the port of entry to be handed over to the Chihuahua State Police and State Attorney General 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,” John Morales, FBI El Paso special agent in charge said at the time. “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.”