THREE men “executed” at a California cemetery beside the grave of man slain in Mexico may have been a cartel hit, cops say.
Local police found the dead men in a Los Angeles graveyard on Monday morning and investigators are trying to see if there’s a cartel connection.
Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco revealed detectives were looking into whether the location indicated the killings were linked.
The bodies were reportedly found by the grave of local man Uver Hernandez Castaneda, 36, who was killed in a suspected cartel hit, according to CBS LA.
“Three people killed at the same time, that was a message for something,” Bianco said at a press briefing on Tuesday.
“Whether it was for someone else or whether it was to them, three people being killed in a cemetery is not the norm.”
The victims were identified as Jaime Covarrubias Espindola, 50, Jose Maria Aguilar-Espejel, 38 and 28-year-old Rodrigo Aguilar-Espejel.
The three locals were discovered in the grass at the Perris Valley Cemetery east of LA.
The shocking killings come two months after Hernandez Castaneda’s lifeless body was found on a Mexican highway.
A motive has yet to be determined but Bianco said they were killed “execution-style”: “It certainly seems that way,” he said.
It hasn’t been confirmed when the three victims were killed and what the motive was.
Cops were combing security footage to determine how they got to the graveyard.
The lavishly decorated burial plot reportedly belongs to Hernandez Castaneda, who was reportedly tortured to death in Michoacan on December 20.
The US goverment issued a travel advisory to exercise “extreme caution” when travelling to Mexico around the time of his death.
Bianco did not confirm this was his grave or that a relationship existed between him and the three dead men.
The sheriff did reveal local law enforcement were in touch with Mexican authorities.
According to Riverside Press-Enterprise, the grave was adorned with hearts, balloons and a crucifix.
Deputies from the Perris Station responded to the 900 Block of North Perris Boulevard at around 10.30am.
Cops had received a report report of three men laying unresponsive on a burial plot.
Aerial footage and photos taken at the scene by CBS LA showed the victims’ lying on the ground.
Their bodies were found surrounded by bouquets of flowers and Valentine’s Day balloons.
“One of them was hunched over, the other one was laying down and the other one looked like he … was wrapped up in a sleeping bag type,” Randy Rios told KTLA5.
Two of the remains were bundled on top of the grave while the third body was further away.
Perris Mayor Michael Vargas said he was “heartbroken by the horrific crimes that have taken place today.”
“I have been in touch with local law enforcement officials and will continue to monitor developments,” Vargas’ statement read.
“We are committed to seeing those responsible for these horrific acts brought to justice.”
Detectives from the Central Homicide Unit are investigating the “isolated incident,” saying there was “no perceived threat.”
But there may be a link between the triple homicide and a slew of deaths in the area.
There were two fatal shootings at a local park and a gas station, according to local reports.
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