Posted: Jan 10, 2012 5:53 PM
Updated: Jan 11, 2012 11:27 AM
Three beheadings in two different states and they happened here in the United States, not Mexico.
Former DEA supervisor Phil Jordan says all three beheadings have cartel written all over them. They happened in Arizona and Oklahoma in the past year.
A murder mystery is now unraveling on a stretch of North Reservation Road in Tucson, Ariz. County workers found a headless man lying on the side of the road Jan. 6. The man's hands and feet were reportedly missing, too.
"It would lead me to believe the message wanted to be sent. This is one of the ways they do it in Mexico, Colombia and other places," says Jordan.
Jordan says the cartels are getting bolder in carrying out their beheadings across the border. He says we only used to see these crimes in Mexico.
"They don't have any borders," says Jordan.
More than 600 miles from the border, a 19-year-old human trafficking victim was found beheaded in Oklahoma. Carina Saunders was stuffed into a bag and left in a grocery store parking lot.
"People know if they get on the wrong side of the fence, they'll be dealt with," says Jordan.
The police chief in the area says two men running the trafficking ring killed Saunders to send a message to the other victims. Jordan says the cartels' calling card is all over this case. Trafficking and smuggling are their top moneymakers. Revenge is the price of doing business.
"Definitely a cartel hit," says Jordan.
Investigators in Chandler, Ariz., say cartel operatives came from Mexico to kill 38-year-old Martin Alejandro Cota Monroy. His beheaded body was found in his apartment.
"One is too many; two is too many. Three should send an alarm," says Jordan.
He says investigators were too late to stop the killings three times in the last 12 months. Jordan says agents are trying to develop more informants to get to the cartels before they can commit the crimes. He says the cartels will only specifically target their victims and aren't interested in random beheadings.