EL PASO, Texas – A body found with its severed arms crossed and placed on its chest in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, was identified by authorities Wednesday as a Texas man kidnapped from his home.
Sergio Saucedo, 30, was kidnapped from his Horizon City house outside El Paso last Thursday. His mutilated body was found Tuesday in the Mexican border city across the Rio Grande, said El Paso County Sheriff's spokesman Jesse Tovar.
"It's apparent that the spillover has occurred," Tovar said of the drug violence plaguing Juarez and much of Mexico.
Saucedo, who has a long criminal record including convictions for drug possession and money laundering, was kidnapped by three men, investigators said. His wife told deputies the men broke into the house, bound Saucedo with duct tape and carried him out the back door to the driveway, where he was stuffed into a dark sport utility vehicle with no license plates.
Witnesses reported hearing at least one gun shot and said Saucedo struggled with his attackers as he yelled for help.
Saucedo's body was found dumped in the street late Tuesday with his severed arms placed on top of a cardboard sign on his chest, said Arturo Sandoval, spokesman for a regional prosecutor's office in Juarez. He said the killers stuffed plastic bags into Saucedo's mouth and taped his eyes.
The sign was immediately removed and authorities have not revealed what it said. Drug cartels often leave messages with victims they kill.
Ciudad Juarez is Mexico's deadliest city with more than 1,300 drug-related killings this year.
El Paso investigators believe Saucedo was killed in Mexico, but a specific motive for the kidnapping and killing remained unclear Wednesday, Tovar said.
Court records show Saucedo, who has used various aliases, had been convicted of money laundering, possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, trafficking marijuana and other drugs in Texas and Oklahoma. Tovar said investigators were not aware of a specific connection to any particular drug gang in Mexico.
Saucedo's case is among a handful of drug-related kidnappings reported to federal authorities in recent years, said Andrea Simmons, an FBI spokeswoman in El Paso. While none Simmons knew of had previously ended so violently, Saucedo's kidnapping isn't the first sign of cartel violence in El Paso.
In May, a Juarez cartel lieutenant and U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement informant was shot eight times in front of his east El Paso house. A fellow cartel lieutenant and informant, along with two other men and a juvenile, have been arrested on capital murder charges in that case. At the time, authorities and experts said Jose Daniel Gonzalez Galeana was the highest ranking cartel member to be killed in the United States.