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Arizona Beheading a Cartel Hit?

October 27, 2010  | 

Police are looking for these three men in connection with an Oct. 10 beheading that may have been ordered by a Mexican drug cartel. Image courtesy of Chandler (Ariz.) PD.

The Chandler (Ariz.) PD's investigation of the beheading of a man earlier this month will include whether the killing was ordered by a Mexican drug cartel.

"The questions are being asked is this a Mexican drug cartel hit," Det. David Ramer told POLICE Magazine. "That's where it's leaning at this point."

Ramer added this is the first time he's heard of this type of cartel-type killing.

Victim Martin Cota Monroy, 38, was found Oct. 10, after his roommate found his body with decapitated head and multiple stab wounds. He was killed between 4:30 and 5:30 a.m.

Officers who responded to the scene found the victim with multiple stab wounds and his head laying next to the body.

After police arrived and set up a perimeter, a neighbor flagged down Officer Ashley Lewis, and led her to an apartment, where she found a pair of bloody boots in plain view outside the dwelling.

Officers then questioned the resident, identified as illegal immigrant Cristanos Moroyoqui, 36, who was known as "Muñeca" (Spanish for "Rag Doll"). He provided a false name, and was arrested. Officers later recovered blood from a pair of tan pants, which he was wearing when apprehended.

The Mexican national will face a second-degree murder charge, as well as a hindering prosecution charge for initially providing a false name to officers.

Moroyoqui's roomate, who initially called 911, told officers he had a hatchet in his room, as well as various knives. A 71-page Chandler police incident report gives additional details of the crime and included witness statements.

The Arizona agency is now looking for three additional men involved in the crime. They were captured on surveillance cameras at a hotel where they stayed.

The suspects — Juan Campos Morales Aguilar, Jose David Castro Reyes, and a man known only as "El Joto" (Mexican slang for "The Faggot") — were seen drinking with Cota Monroy earlier at the El Coyote sports bar.

Police also believe the suspects may be from Perris, Calif., and drove a red 2003 Ford Expedition with California license plate 6FWR784. No narcotics or drug paraphernalia was recovered from the scene.

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