Home Columnists Mexican Cartel Members Allegedly Beheaded Special Needs Child in Alabama

Mexican Cartel Members Allegedly Beheaded Special Needs Child in Alabama

0
Get started on your Homeland Security Degree at American Military University.

Sylvia Longmire IHSBy Sylvia Longmire
Columnist, In Homeland Security

For over a decade, news of extreme violence has been filtering out of Mexico as a result of conflicts between drug cartels and government forces. While Mexican organized crime groups have long been known to have an extensive presence and network inside the U.S., the violent crimes they commit in the name of drug profits have largely been confined south of the border. However, a recent beheading of a child witness in Alabama has brought the Mexico drug war once again dangerously close to home.

In early June 2018, 49 year-old Oralia Mendoza and her 13 year-old granddaughter Mariah Lopez were killed in Madison County, Alabama. According to AL.com, their bodies weren’t discovered until later, and the cause of death was “sharp force injuries” with a knife. Mendoza lived with Lopez—a middle-schooler on the autism spectrum—in Huntsville, AL, along with Mendoza’s 26 year-old boyfriend, Yoni Aguilar. Both Aguilar and his friend Israel Palomino have been charged with their murders.

Sinaloa Drug Cartel

A Madison County Sheriff’s investigator testified on July 12 that Mendoza was associated with the notorious Sinaloa drug cartel in Mexico. Days before their murders, Mendoza and Aguilar, Palomino, and another woman went to pick up a batch of methamphetamine in Norcross, GA. The investigator indicated that something went wrong during the transaction, leading Palomino to suspect it might be a setup. Fearing she was in danger, Mendoza sent a text message to a friend asking to be picked up, according to the Washington Post. Both men saw her text and decided she needed to be silenced.

Two days later, Mendoza was told she and her granddaughter would be taken somewhere safe. Instead, Aguilar and Palomino drove Mendoza and Lopez to a cemetery where, according to Aguilar, Palomino stabbed Mendoza to death. Because Lopez witnessed the murder from the car, the two men drove her to a secluded area on a nearby street. Aguilar told police that Palomino forced him to kill Lopez by beheading her. Police started investigating on June 7 when a local farm boy found Lopez’s body. Both Aguilar and Palomino were arrested on June 14, and Mendoza’s body was found on June 15 after Aguilar’s confession. They were both charged with capital murder on June 21.

Cartel Beheadings Are Rare

Mexican cartel-related beheadings in the U.S. are exceedingly rare, but not unheard of. In October 2010, 38 year-old Martin Cota-Monroy was beheaded in a Chandler, AZ apartment by cartel members affiliated with the PEI Estatales and the Sinaloa cartel for stealing 400 pounds of marijuana. Making matters worse for himself, Cota-Monroy lied and told his would-be killers that Border Patrol agents had seized the load.

Affiliations between core cartel leadership in Mexico and their distributors in the U.S. can be very loose, largely to limit the amount of information dealers and couriers can provide to U.S. law enforcement regarding operational details. However, cartels deliberately keep a low profile north of the border so as not to attract unwanted attention from the police and the media. This tends to have a detrimental effect on drug trafficking operations, and there’s a good chance Aguilar and Palomino won’t even make it to the gas chamber if the Sinaloa cartel decides to teach them a lesson in prison for their poor decision-making.

Comments

comments

Roots In The Military. Relevant To All.

American Military University (AMU) is proud to be the #1 provider of higher education to the U.S. military, based on FY 2018 DoD tuition assistance data, as reported by Military Times, 2019. At AMU, you’ll find instructors who are former leaders in the military, national security, and the public sector who bring their field-tested skills and strategies into the online classroom. And we work to keep our curriculum and content relevant to help you stay ahead of industry trends. Join the 64,000 U.S. military men and women earning degrees at American Military University.

Request Information

Please complete this form and we’ll contact you with more information about AMU. All fields except phone are required.

Validation message here
Validation message here
Validation message here
Validation message here
Validation message here
Validation message here
Validation message here
Validation message here
Validation message here
Ready to apply? Start your application today.

We value your privacy.

By submitting this form, you agree to receive emails, texts, and phone calls and messages from American Public University System, Inc. which includes American Military University (AMU) and American Public University (APU), its affiliates, and representatives. I understand that this consent is not a condition of enrollment or purchase.

You may withdraw your consent at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy, terms, or contact us for more details.