Five killed over the weekend in south Nogales; Arizona resident found murdered in vehicle on Monday
The murder of an Arizonan on Monday was a sad ending to a violent Memorial Day Weekend that saw six persons murdered in Nogales, Mexico.
The body of 32-year-old Jorge Luis Soto of South Tucson was discovered at 2:30 a.m. on Memorial Day morning in his pickup truck, with its engine still running, beneath an underpass just off of the Carretera International (International Highway) near the airport south of Nogales. He had been killed by three bullets, one to the chest and two to the head, and authorities estimated that he had been dead for up to four hours before his body was discovered.
The weekend began with a vaguely worded safety warning from the U.S. Consulate in Nogales, Mexico cautioning travelers to take extra precautions when traveling in Nogales. At the time we had criticized the warning as being unnecessarily vague and not applicable to border tourists, however it now seems that as general as it was, the warning came from credible sources regarding the state of security in Nogales, Sonora. More on that soon.
What was originally reported as a triple homicide in the parking lot of the Kentucky Fried Chicken in Nogales, Sonora on Saturday afternoon was a shooting of three individuals that resulted in one death (although some news sources are reporting that the incident resulted in two deaths, which would bring the three-day tally to seven dead). The shooting appears to be an isolated incident that is unrelated to the other weekend killings.
During the day Saturday, four others lost their lives to gun-related violence in Nogales, with at least two of them having been tortured before they were killed:
At 9:20 a.m., a man’s body was found in the construction site of a three-story luxury home in Colonia Chula Vista. The man had been killed by a pistol, and the body exhibited signs of pre-mortem torture.
Just five minutes later the body of Raul Marimponse, 43, was discovered on Calle Santa Isabel in Colonia San Carlos.
And about an hour later, at 10:30 a.m., the body of a man who had been shot and then wrapped in black plastic was discovered near Colinas del Yaqui.
On the following day, the fourth victim of Saturday’s violence was discovered at the end of Calle Chula Vista in the housing development Monte Bello Residencial. The body of Sergio Perez Marquez, 42, was found with a number of .40 caliber bullet wounds and signs of torture.
As was the case for last year’s Nogales, Sonora homicide statistics, there is some variation in the reported number of murder victims.
See an analysis of last year’s homicide rate reporting divergence.
With the killing of Arizona resident Jorge Luis Soto, the current number of homicides for 2014 was reported by the major newspaper in Sonora, El Imparcial, as being 34, but a local Nogales, Mexico blog that independently tracks and records homicides reported the number year-to-date at 44.
One thing to glean from the numbers collected by El Imparcial, however, is that while their reported current homicide rate of 34 for 2014 is 10 homicides lower than locally collected numbers, it is 54 percent higher than their reported numbers of 22 homicides that had been committed by this date in 2013.
This indicates a disturbing trend in the increase of violence in Nogales, Sonora, a topic that was the subject of discussion at a recent law enforcement forum held in Nogales, Sonora earlier this month. More on that event and its possible connection to the weekend violence in a future post.