Cartel hit man cops to nine murders in California
April 14, 2014
A Mexican drug cartel hit man confessed last week to killing more than 30 people, nine of whom he murdered in California. [LA Times]
Jose Manuel Martinez, 51, allegedly told investigators in Alabama that he has worked for a Mexican drug cartel since he was 16, collecting debts and keeping 25 percent of the money. Martinez is accused of execution-style killings, as well as of murdering victims in front of their families. The murders date back more than 30 years.
Martinez lived part-time in Richgrove, a small farm town about 40 miles north of Bakersfield. He is accused of eight Central Valley murders spanning 1980 to 2011.
One Northern Santa Barbara County murder is also attributed to Martinez. Investigators say he shot a 30-year-old man several times in 1980 while the victim was working on a ranch near Santa Ynez. A 17-year-old was also shot during the incident but survived.
Tulare County ranchers found several other victims lying in fields and along country roads. The Tulare County Sheriff’s Office is also investigating unsolved murders with possible links to Martinez.
Martinez was arrested at an Arizona border crossing last year in connection with a March 2013 murder in Alabama.