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THE STATE

2 Mexican Officers Found Dead in Trunk

October 15, 2002|Jessica Garrison | Times Staff Writer

The bodies of two state police officers were found in the trunk of an abandoned car in Tijuana blanketed with hundreds of dollar bills, officials said Monday.

The Baja California state attorney general's office, which is investigating, declined to speculate on what the money might mean. But Donald Thornhill, spokesman for the Drug Enforcement Administration in San Diego, said, "I would say this is characteristic of a drug hit. They're sending a message" to deter others from crossing drug traffickers.

The officers, Jorge Raul Cuara, 25, and Sergio Bravo Alfaro, 36, left their office last Tuesday afternoon. They never returned. Another officer who was with them, Carlos Lopez Avalos, is missing.

The next morning, police in Tijuana's Zona Rio found the officers' car. It was empty, but there was blood on the seats.

On Friday, police spotted a Volkswagen Passat that had been reported stolen parked near the Universidad Autonoma de Baja California. In the trunk, they found the bodies and about $350.

Autopsies have not been completed, but the men appear to have been strangled, said Hamlet Alcantara, a spokesman for the state attorney general.

Alcantara said the officers had not been working on a specific investigation that would have put them in danger.

Earlier this fall, a state police officer in Mexicali was assassinated, Alcantara said.

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