Updated: 9:08 pm MDT March 25,2010
EL PASO, Texas -- The Department of Homeland Security sent out a security alert to all men and women in uniform to be careful and advise their families to take extra precaution.
Barrio Azteca gang members say they plan to kill law enforcement officers in the El Paso area as retaliation, the department said.
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Socorro police Sgt. Refugio Orta was made aware on Monday of the threat against any law enforcement officer in the El Paso area.
"We have a dangerous job to begin with, but just for them to put it out there again , it is nerve wrecking," said Orta.
The officer safety alert stated that the Barrio Azteca gang may authorize the attempted murder of law enforcement officers as retaliation.
Last week, the FBI and DEA conducted a sweep of Barrio Azteca members, resulting in the arrest of dozens alleged gang members. The gang has ties with the Juárez drug cartel and is under scrutiny for its possible involvement in the murders in Juárez of three people tied to the U.S. Consulate. FBI officials said the threat is uncorroborated but want to warn officers anyway.
"Be careful. Be careful how you go home. Warn your family. It's something we do on a regular basis, it's part of doing the job of law enforcement," said Special Agent Andrea Simmons with FBI.
KFOX tried interviewing family members of law enforcement officers but they're so fearful they didn't want to grant us an interview. One person released this statement:
"I am fearful that something may happen to him or my family. His job is to keep our city safe by enforcing the law. As a community, how can we help each other and our law enforcement officers? They are our fathers, brothers, mothers, sisters, friends and neighbors. If they are protecting our city, who is protecting them?"
Orta said now more than ever his officers do radio checks to make sure they know where everyone is at all times. And he makes sure he watches his own back so he can make it home after his shift.
"My spouse and my kids they just ensure that we're all safe and to be careful and give our blessings everyday," said Orta.
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