Monday, June 04, 2012

5 bodies found in burned-out SUV in Arizona desert

Five bodies were found Saturday in a burned-out vehicle in the southern Arizona desert, Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu said. Border Patrol officers originally spotted the white Ford Excursion around 4:30 a.m. off the side of Interstate 8 in western Pinal County, about 60 miles south of Phoenix. When the agent turned around, the SUV "fled at high rates of speed," Babeu told CNN. Aided by daylight, authorities spotted "numerous tracks off the road" and followed them for two to three miles before coming across a smoldering vehicle. "That's when the Border Patrol agents went up to the vehicle with fire extinguishers and realized there were bodies inside, clearly deceased," the sheriff said. None of the five killed was in the SUV's front seat. One was in the second row and the other four bodies were found "laying down flat in the cargo area," Babeu said. Authorities are investigating whether the bodies found are linked to violence by Mexican drug cartels. The incident took place in the Vekol Valley, a hotbed of drug- and human-smuggling activity, according to Babeu, who said his department conducted 350 high-speed chases in the area last year in an effort to curb such crime. "It looks like it's a cartel hit, where they exact revenge on people," the sheriff said, calling a drug connection "very likely" while noting there's been no definitive conclusion yet. "It happens all the time in Mexico; our fear and concern is that this violence is spilling over deep into the heart of Arizona."...more

And this more recent story states:

Babeu said the deaths are being investigated as homicides. "The vehicle was stopped in an open area. It did not crash into something. Clearly whoever murdered these people did it intentionally," he said. "They brought them there either alive or dead and torched the vehicle in an effort to conceal evidence."  Babeu said the incident is likely a case of drug cartel violence. "This is more than likely connected to drug smuggling," he said. "It's not likely human smuggling because most of the time if illegals are no longer of use or too slow for the rest of the group, they're left to fend for themselves or die. We don't see many cases where illegals are killed. They're usually only killed if they put up a fight as they're being robbed.  "This is more likely either punishment on criminals who tried to steal from the cartels or some competing interest in a criminal element."  Babeu said investigators will try to determine whether the victims were dead before the fire was started or whether they were alive when the SUV was set ablaze.  The Vekol Valley is located 70 miles north of the U.S.-Mexican border. Babeu called the area a "hotbed for human and drug smuggling."

70 miles north of the border...but don't worry, Obama & Steinborn would never let that happen here.

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