On the night of September 2, 2009, twelve hit men carrying AK-47s forced open the main door of Casa Aliviane, a drug rehabilitation center in Ciudad Juarez. Inside, they started shooting at a group of 19 young recovering addicts and alleged cartel members. From a hallway overlooking an inner courtyard, the hit men riddled their victims with bullets.
In photos taken the following day, there are blood-soaked footprints in various sizes under a small tiled roof that decorates the half-pink, half-magenta façade of the Casa Aliviane. Thicker tracks mark the path of a wounded man who managed to crawl outside just before he died. In total, the gunmen killed 18 young men.
The massacre at the Aliviane rehabilitation center was ordered by Jose Antonio Acosta Hernandez, alias “El Diego”, the same man who ordered the massacre of Villas de Salvarcar, an action in which three weapons from an ATF gun-tracing operation were used to murder 16 teenagers. At the time, Acosta Hernandez was one of the alleged leaders of La Linea, the armed branch of the Juarez Cartel.