Here is an excerpt from "One killed in suspected execution style shooting" on Action 4 News/ValleyCentral.com:
"Mission Police are reporting one of two victims dead, after a suspected execution style shooting Tuesday night... The shooting reportedly happened last night near the Cimarron Country Club, at the intersection of Glasscock and Rio Grande Drive. Police say several gunshots were fired... A number of vehicles were seen at the location of the shooting with Mexican license plates. Four suspects are reportedly in police custody, while police continue to look for two more suspects." Link to Full Story
Here is an excerpt from "Police probe whether beheading was 'hit' from drug cartel" by Mike Sakal in the East Valley Tribune:
"Chandler police are investigating the possibility that the stabbing death and decapitation of a 38-year-old Phoenix resident believed to be an illegal immigrant from Mexico earlier this month was a “hit” by a Mexican drug cartel against a member who betrayed them. Alejandro Cota-Monroy, whose decapitated body was found inside an apartment at 300 West Fairview St. the morning of Oct. 10 amid a bloody and gruesome scene, may have ripped off a Mexican cartel of illegal drugs, according to Chandler police Detective Dave Ramer... Initial media reports indicated that the man’s death could be connected to a Mexican religious ritual, the Saint of Death, because candles and a Ouija border were reportedly found at the scene. But Ramer said the slaying had “nothing to do” with the religion, although drug dealers and drug cartel members are known to participate in it because they believe if they do, it will protect them from law enforcement." Link to Full Article
Here is an excerpt from "Two Zetas executed in Brownsville, Texas" in The Brownsville Herald:
"Authorities have linked Thursday’s double homicide on FM 511 in the northwest outskirts of Brownsville. Texas, to Mexican drug cartels and are investigating the killings as spillover violence from the Tamaulipas war between the Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas. The bodies of Omar Castillo Flores “El Omarcillo”, 25, and Jose Guadalupe Lopez Perez, 38, were found inside a gray Dodge Ram pickup that was riddled with bullets, police spokesman Eddie Garcia said Friday. He said the truck had a Mexican license plate on the back bumper, and he identified both men as residents of Mexico... Brownsville Police Chief Carlos Garcia confirmed the information provided by Mexican law enforcement officials who stated that Omar Castillo and Jose Lopez were members of the Zetas criminal organisation and that Omar Castillo was the younger brother of former Gulf Cartel member Alberto "Beto Fabe" Castillo Flores." Link to Full Article
Analysis: While these three incidents happened in two different states, three different cities, and six weeks apart, they signal a disturbing possibility: Mexican DTOs might be more willing to take risks and engage in violent activity against their selected targets in the US.
Not that violent activity by DTOs on US soil is anything new. In August 2008, four suspects were paid between $400,000 and $450,000 to torture five victims with electric shock and slit their throats in an Alabama apartment. The murders have been tied to a Mexican DTO that transports cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana. In February 2009, gang members threw an inactive grenade into a strip club in Pharr, Texas. In August 2009, 16 members of the "Los Palillos" gang were indicted for the torture and murder of nine people in San Diego on behalf of a Mexican DTO.
In all fairness, there's no concrete proof (yet) that either the McAllen country club shooting or the Chandler beheading are definitely connected to Mexican DTOs, but I'd be willing to bet money that they are. The real question becomes, are we seeing a trend, or are these three incidents just becoming more noticeable?
We know a couple of things. First, hitmen working for DTOs are starting out younger and younger, which means they lack the experience and expertise of their predecessors. That means hits these days tend to be messier and more public. We also know that some DTOs in some places are getting more desperate to hang on to their territory and their share of drug profits. This means they may be willing to take more risks when it comes to engaging in violent activity on this side of the border.
It's so hard to say because criminals tend to not report crimes committed against them. It could be just a sheer coincidence that these incidents happened within a few weeks of each other, or that the police found out about them; the killers could have just been careless in all three cases. However, I'm a firm believer that once is an accident, twice is a coincidence, and three times is a conspiracy. I prefer not to be an alarmist, but I'm concerned that these incidents were so blatant, and may have been designed to send a message. I'm not raising the red flag just yet, but I know I'll be keeping an eye out for other incidents like this in the next few weeks.