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Guilty Verdict For 5 Men In Abductions, Murders Of 11 Juárez Women

Victims' mothers gather in prayer outside the courthouse in Ciudad Juárez before closing arguments in a high profile trial. (Mónica Ortiz Uribe)

A high-profile trial in the Mexican border city of Juárez ended this weekend in a guilty verdict for five men accused of sex trafficking and murder.

The victims were young women who vanished from the streets of downtown Juárez beginning in 2008 and throughout a period of intense drug violence.  The skeletal remains of some of those women were later found in the desert outskirts of the city.

On Saturday a three judge panel declared five men guilty in the abduction and murder of 11 of those women. A sixth man was acquitted.

Judges said they believe the women were vulnerable because of their poor socioeconomic status and taken advantage of by a local sex-trafficking ring with ties to a powerful drug cartel.

Women's rights organizations that participated in the trial consider it a milestone because they worked alongside police during the investigation.

Juárez has a long history of violence against women. In past murder cases, authorities have been accused of planting evidence and torturing suspects.