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Authorities Search for 8 Alleged Drug Cartel Killers in S.D.

Audio

Aired 8/14/09

San Diego law enforcement authorities are searching for eight men who are allegedly part of a Mexican drug ring that tortured, kidnapped and killed nine people in San Diego County. The 17 members of the group were indicted Thursday.

San Diego law enforcement authorities are searching for eight men who are allegedly part of a Mexican drug ring that tortured, kidnapped and killed nine people in San Diego County. The 17 members of the group were indicted Thursday.

San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, flanked by FBI Special Agent-in-Charge Keith Slotter and San Diego Sheriff Bill Gore, announces charges against a cross-border kidnapping and murder organization.
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Above: San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, flanked by FBI Special Agent-in-Charge Keith Slotter and San Diego Sheriff Bill Gore, announces charges against a cross-border kidnapping and murder organization.

Prosecutors say the crew was formed in Tijuana during the 90s and worked for the Arellano Felix drug cartel. But authorities say about nine years ago the group's then leader was killed in an internal cartel feud. The dead leader's brother took over and fled with his men to San Diego.

From 2004 to 2007, the group allegedly killed nine people in San Diego County, kidnapped people for hundreds of thousands of dollars in ransom and tried to murder a Chula Vista policeman.

Keith Slotter heads the FBI in San Diego. He says the stories are shocking. "Torture, tasers, murder, kidnapping, the dissolving of bodies in acid. This type of activity is almost beyond humane comprehension."

The gang allegedly dumped five bodies around the county and dissolved two in muriatic acid. That's a method Mexican drug cartels have used for decades.

James Fontaine is an Assistant District Attorney on the case. He says the break came two years ago. The FBI caught the gang's leader and other alleged members for kidnapping an Ensenada man who was living in Chula Vista. Fontaine says the murder crew is defunct. But the problem is ongoing. "There are other crews out there, other kidnapping organizations, cartel related organizations that are doing this same style of crime. Fontaine says those crimes are under investigation.

Meanwhile, authorities say three of the kidnap and murder crew members were killed recently in Tijuana. Crime Stoppers is offering $1,000 for information that leads to the arrest of the eight others.

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