SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The mother of a 14-year-old boy suspected of working as an assassin for a Mexican drug cartel pleaded not guilty in San Diego Thursday to a charge of being in the United States illegally.
U.S. Border Patrol personnel arrested Yolanda Jimenez Lugo, 43, at her apartment on South 31st Street in Logan Heights in early December. She was arrested along with her husband, Gabriel Aguirre Manuel, 46, who also pleaded not guilty Thursday.
They are both expected back in court for a possible change-of-plea hearing on Jan. 20.
Lugo had been deported in September 1997. According to a court document filed shortly after her arrest, Lugo admitted she lacked documentation for living in the United States.
Lugo's teenage son, Edgar Jimenez Lugo, was arrested Dec. 2 in Mexico on suspicion of killing drug gang rivals -- allegedly beheading some of them -- as part of his alleged work for the South Pacific drug-trafficking cartel.
The teen was captured at an airport in Cuernavaca, the capital of Morelos state, as he and one of his older sisters were about to board a flight to Tijuana, from where they intended to cross into the United States to be with their mother in San Diego, according to news accounts.
The boy and his 19-year-old sister, Elizabeth Jimenez Lugo, allegedly worked for Julio "El Negro" Padilla, who has been trying to seize control of the illicit drug market in Morelos through violence, authorities have said.