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Could there be possible Sinaloa Cartel involvement in the massacre of eight Ohio family members

May 1, 2016  |  Posted by: JammedUp Staff
Could there be possible Sinaloa Cartel involvement in the massacre of eight Ohio family members

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Authorities are continuing to follow every lead in the investigation into the brutal slaughter of eight family members on a rural farm in Pike County, Ohio, including the possible involvement of Mexican drug cartels.

So far no arrests have been made. Police haven’t identified any suspects and have yet to establish a motive for what officials have described as a “carefully planned” execution of the eight Rhoden family members on a rural farm almost two weeks ago.

Autopsy results revealed all the victims had died from multiple execution-style gunshots, one of the victims was shot nine times. Police have released no further information on the slayings.

As JammedUp News reported, law enforcement officials including DEA along with local and state Police agencies, are probing a possible drug cartel link after the discovery of a massive marijuana growing operation on three of the four Rhoden family properties, where the killings occurred.

Whether the killings were a drug-related hit is the question being asked by law enforcement agencies at all levels.

On Saturday, the Mexican newspaper Reforma reported federal investigators are leaning to the possibility that the slayings may have been perpetrated by Mexican drug traffickers tied to the Sinaloa cartel.

According to Reforma, the sophisticated grow operation along with the careful planning the suspected killers took carrying out the executions is leading investigators to suspect cartel-related involvement.

It would not mark the first discovery of a marijuana grow operation in Pike County. The region has become known for the cultivation of cannabis.

The DEA has previously said the Sinaloa Cartel has a very strong presence in Ohio.

A 2015 DEA drug assessment report confirmed a significant presence maintained by the Sinaloa Cartel in Pike County, and in Columbus, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dayton, Akron, as well as in other cities in the Midwest, according to the Daily Caller.

Over the past six years, authorities have seized numerous marijuana grow operations in the county with suspected ties to Mexican drug cartels.

In 2010, Ohio police uncovered 22,000 marijuana plants in the village of Latham located 15 miles west of Piketon with alleged links to Mexican drug cartels and another 25,180 plants from neighboring Muskingum.

In August 2012, Ohio law enforcement officers uncovered“ a major marijuana grow site in Pike County with suspected drug cartel ties and in 2014 authorities found multiple extensive marijuana plantations allegedly linked to drug traffickers in Mexico in the mountainous region around Pike County.

Furthermore, in November 2015, police arrested Jose Francisco Morales-Medina, a leading member of Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s operations in Ohio, seizing a shipment of heroin and $450 thousand in cash.

“The landscape in Piketon and neighboring counties is more attractive, better conditions for cultivation, and it’s in close distance from the major cities” according to Jill Del Greco of the Ohio A.G.’s Office told The Daily Beast

Michael Throne, the editor of the Chillicothe Gazette, told Reforma that over the past several years; authorities have monitored the increased presence of Mexican drug traffickers in the region and reports of cartel-linked grow operations have remained prevalent.

“Since 2010, there have been stories of growing marijuana operations in Ohio linked to a Mexican drug cartel, but I cannot remember any acts of violence directly attributed to drug cartels,” Throne told Reforma.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine refused to speculate on possible cartel involvement in the executions.

“We currently have no idea. We are following various leads. Many diverse theories have been posed,” DeWine told CBS News.

Also, Reforma quoted an expert with extensive experience investigating Mexican drug cartels who suggested the massacre of the Rhoden family was different and suggested the “modus operandi is typical of how Mexican drug cartels operate.”

Retired federal agent Russ Neville, who was the former resident DEA agent in charge of the Cincinnati field office also believes the Pike County killings have all the hallmarks of a professional hit.

“Federal investigators and the Pike County sheriff have their hands full with this one because it was definitely professionally done. It’s either cartel-related or has the sense of some sort of military operation. It was professionally done.”

“You have four locations pinpointed, surveilled, mapped out. The perpetrators had to gather intelligence on those houses and families,” Neville said.

The former DEA agent added, “they knew what time they go to bed, what time the family got up, they knew what their daily activities were and had knowledge of the entry to get in the fastest and how to get out.”

Neville mentions the fact there has been cartel activity in the region, and when he heard about the marijuana operations on the properties, he put forth a set of theories as to what could cause a cartel to massacre an entire family.

“I thought it could be possible that these three grow operations were producing marijuana for the cartel,” Neville said.

He added, “It could also be possible that this was interfering with their business, affecting the profit of the cartel by these individuals selling their own marijuana and they’re making a statement.”

“If this was cartel-related, the shooters came in, got out and are long gone. They can disappear across our southern borders like they own it,” he said.

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