The bodies of five people have been found inside a burned vehicle in Pinal County, Arizona –only 70 miles from the U.S.-Mexico border.
Border Patrol agents said the case is likely connected to drug cartel violence.
Sheriff’s officials explained that a Ford Expedition was spotted Saturday in the area which is known for drug smuggling activity. Authorities found tracks leading off the main road on Interstate 8, and found a vehicle that had burned, late night.
Agents inspected the vehicle and found five victims inside, burned beyond recognition. One person was in the rear passenger seat and the other four victims were found in the back of the vehicle.
Investigators could not immediately determine the gender or ethnicity of the victims and it’s unclear where they were from, but the Pinal County sheriff’s office has notified the Mexican Consulate.
Investigators will try to determine whether the victims were dead before the SUV was set ablaze or whether they were alive when the fire was started.