PD: Man involved with cartel arrested, admits to killing man in Mesa

Mugshot of Daniel Villalobos-Espinoza

Mesa Police have arrested a man in connection with a murder on Saturday. 

Daniel Villalobos-Espinoza was arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder after a man was found dead.

Police arrived to the apartment at 6:45 p.m. to find Carlos Osuna-Apodaca dead from two gunshot wounds to the head and neck.

Police say a witness who lived at the apartment near Mesa Drive and Broadway Road said Daniel's brother, Jesus Villalobos-Espinoza, had come to the apartment to see the victim. He alleges he heard two shots and opened his bedroom door to find Osuna-Apodaca bleeding and unresponsive.

The witness says he saw Daniel standing in the apartment with a handgun and that he told the witness to "mind his own business."

Investigators say the witness was able to identify both Jesus and Daniel's Facebook pages, address, photographs and vehicles.

Another friend of both parties told police that the brothers had disputes with Osuna-Apodaca in the past and one of them was "most likely to shoot him."

Police obtained a search warrant and located the pistol involved in the shooting.

In an interview with police, Jesus admitted he was at the victim's home when his brother, Daniel, showed up unexpectedly.

Jesus went outside to smoke a cigarette and heard two gunshots inside the residence and fled, according to police. Daniel eventually told Jesus he had shot Osuna-Apodaca because they had both worked for drug cartels together, and he thought that Osuna-Apodaca "had been told to kill Daniel."

Investigators say Jesus admitted he didn't know his brother was going kill the victim, and he said he thought Daniel waited until he went outside to smoke so he wouldn't see it.

According to officials with Mesa police, Daniel initially denied committing the murder until police informed him of his brother's statement. He then admitted to police that he had shot and killed Osuna-Apodaca.

Daniel confirmed to Mesa police he had worked with Osuna-Apodaca in drug cartels as a desert spotter. He said he had not been getting paid so he just walked away from the job without telling anyone.

Daniel claims Osuna-Apodaca told the people they worked for that he had found Daniel and was going to kill him, according to police. However, Daniel never heard about this conversation other than through third-party sources, and he noticed the victim was acting distant, thinking he would kill him soon.

On the night of the shooting, police say Daniel was at home worrying about the situation, so he decided to go and kill Osuna-Apodaca before he killed Daniel.

Police say Daniel confirmed to investigators that the handgun at his home was the murder weapon.