PINAL COUNTY, Ariz. (KSAZ) - A break in not one, but two cold case murders.
The murders took place in 2008, but the remains of one of the victims was not found until a couple of years ago. Now the search is one for two brothers believed to have carried out the gruesome crimes.
These brothers are Mexican nationals with ties to the drug cartels and trafficking, according to Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu.
The Sheriff's investigators were able to link the brothers to two missing men who were eventually found murdered.
Babeu is linking 43-year-old Fausto Negrete-Olivas and his older brother, Dionicio Negrete-Olivas, to the murders in Casa Grande.
"These are some of the most gruesome murders that we've seen here," said Babeu.
Babeu says the Olivas brothers are both linked to Mexican drug cartel activity, lured 36-year-old Baltazar Lopez, a known drug traffiker, and his friend, Azaren Cordova, to Casa Grande on April 27, 2008.
"Baltazar believed he was owed $10,000 and he was coming to Casa Grande and they told him they were going to pay him, so this was the lure to him," said Babeu.
Instead of paying Baltazar, Sheriff Babeu says the Olivas brothers murdered him and Azaren, dismembered their bodies and discarded their remains in two separate places.
One victim's remains were discovered in 2009 in a Casa Grande wash. Five years later, in 2014, the other victim's remains were discovered in a septic tank in a rural area of Casa Grande.
Law enforcement had not identified either victim or connected them to the missing men from west Phoenix, until a Pima County MEdical Examiner and detectives were able to link the two victims through DNA in 2014.
This appears to be a caretel drug deal gone bad among Mexican nationals, but the Sheriff says that it happened in an Arizona county and they will pursue justice.
"Our job is we're the protectors. We do not walk in fear of these criminals. Our job is to protect our community and to say this kind of vicious crime cannot go unanswered in the state of Arizona," said Babeu.
The Sheriff is giving a lot of credit to the Pima County Medical Examiner's office and sheriff's investigators for connecting the victims and identifying them.
As for the suspects, Babeu says they have been spotted in the state of Arizona in the last 12 months.
If you see either of them, call law enforcement immediately.