03-18-2015, 12:14 PM #1
TX - Jose Palacios Paz, 30, found decapitated, South Padre Island, 16 March 2015
Welface Concern Filed for Man Later Found Decapitated
The person or persons responsible for the death of Franklin Rodriguez Palacios Paz is still unknown. Fishermen found his decapitated body off of South Padre Island Monday. Palacios' girlfriend Marta Sanchez had filed a welfare concern report with Edinburg police Saturday. She said, “It was strange that he was missing, and his phone was not on. It was strange.”
Sanchez said she went looking for Palacios at a tire shop on Schunior Street in Edinburg. He worked here for nearly two years.
Coworkers said Palacios stopped coming to work two weeks ago, after he was paid $350 cash.
On Monday, she got word he was found dead on South Padre Island. His head was cut off, and his body was mutilated.
“They opened up or tried to open up part of his chest or something like that,” said Cameron County Sheriff Omar Lucio.
Authorities still do not know where the actual murder took place or who might be responsible.
12-26-2015, 02:47 PM #2
Eduardo Luna Rodriguez, Fernando Luna Rodriguez, Nestor Manuel Leal and Aaron Rodriguez Medellin were the four men arrested and arraigned in the case Thursday morning...
The sheriff said all four suspects knew Paz through their work at a local tire shop in Edinburg.
A six-year veteran of the U.S. Border Patrol has been charged with capital murder in connection with the death of Jose Francisco Palacios Paz, whose decapitated body was found floating in the Laguna Madre in March. Authorities say the case has ties to the Gulf Cartel.
12-28-2015, 12:48 PM #3
Two of the men arrested in June are brothers of soon-to-be-former agent Luna.
Luna was assigned to the Hebronville checkpoint; he was with CBP for six years.
04-22-2016, 08:27 AM #4
The trials for five men accused of the murder of Honduran national Francisco Palacios Paz were reset Thursday in the 107th state District Court before Judge Benjamin Euresti...
The men had been set to go to trial April 25, however, at an announcement hearing Thursday it was stated that their next hearings were set for June.
05-20-2016, 03:00 AM #5Franklin Palacios Paz, a troubled Honduran immigrant, worked at a tire shop in Edinburg, earning around $80 a week in an environment that state investigators have depicted as rife with tension, according to an affidavit.Palacios had confided his affiliation with the Gulf Cartel, a drug trafficking organization based across the border in Tamaulipas, Mexico, the teenager said, according to the arrest affidavit for Border Patrol Agent Joel Luna. Palacios and the men at the tire shop boasted of chopping off heads, the boy told investigators. And he had seen drugs hidden in video game machines, along with stacks of dollars brought over from Reynosa, Mexico, the affidavit states.
In an interview with a girlfriend of Palacios, the affidavit continues, the victim had admitted “crossing illegals” for the cartel.
By November, Cameron County investigators had arrested five men, including Luna, in connection with the grisly killing. According to the affidavit, the men killed Palacios to stop him from revealing their activities as drug smugglers with ties to the cartel.
07-06-2016, 12:12 PM #6
Extensive new reporting on the case from the Texas Tribune.
Before he was found naked and decapitated days after his 33rd birthday, Palacios Paz — "Franky" to his friends — worked at Veteran's Tire Shop in Edinburg, one county over. In no time, authorities came to suspect that tire repair wasn't the only thing going on there. It's where they think Franky — about to rat out a drug trafficking operation with links to the powerful Mexican Gulf Cartel — met his end.
Over the ensuing weeks, the investigation led authorities on a meandering journey through the Gulf Cartel's internal bloodletting, featuring tales of a supposed double-crossing cartel hitman, a U.S.-born narco turned folk legend and a major mafia capo nicknamed "Commander Pussy" now locked up in a federal prison in Houston, Texas. And by last summer, they had arrested four of Franky's tire shop associates on murder and drug trafficking charges.
With fall trials expected, authorities say they have turned up the familiar markings of mafia muscle and hardball tactics experts have come to associate with 21st century cartel warfare — complete with a severed head supposedly secreted off to Mexico to prove a snitch was dead.
All of which would sound familiar to anyone versed in Gulf Cartel etiquette had it not been for one late-breaking and quite unexpected development: the alleged involvement and eventual arrest of a U.S. Border Patrol agent.In the spring of 2013, investigators would later learn, Joel's brothers and their families apparently had to flee Mexico in a hurry. They came to him for help and a place to live — and he obliged, sources close to the investigation say.Palermo said she still doesn't know exactly what happened, but the family fled and her sister — the Luna brothers' mother — has not returned to Mexico since.
"My sister said they had to had to run out of there," she said. "It was, 'Get out! Get out!' And they left the tables and gifts and everything."
"She can't go back there," Palomo told the Tribune. "She's scared."
Joel Luna apparently was so worried about the incident that he alerted his Border Patrol supervisors in Texas. Multiple sources with direct knowledge of the investigation say that in March of 2013, Joel told the agency he'd been warned his family in Mexico was in danger unless he helped move drugs for the Gulf Cartel. Murder investigators would report two years later that "information discovered inside Joel Luna's personnel file where he worked" are now part of the government's case against him.
08-26-2016, 03:01 AM #7The brother of a U.S. Border Patrol agent charged with capital murder in an alleged Mexican drug cartel hit struck a surprise deal Thursday to help prosecutors build their case against his siblings and other defendants.
Fernando Luna — older brother of Border Patrol agent Joel Luna — pleaded guilty to possession of a controlled substance, cocaine, before state District Judge Benjamin Euresti. In exchange, prosecutors agreed to drop three far more serious counts against him springing from the murder of Jose Francisco Palacios Paz, whose headless body was found floating off South Padre Island in 2015.
Before agreeing to the deal, Fernando Luna had been facing life in prison. He now will get no more than three years and could get a sentence of probation only, largely depending on how prosecutors view his level of cooperation.Fernando Luna and another Luna sibling, Eduardo, were charged with four felony counts, as were two unrelated co-defendants in June of last year. The middle Luna brother, Joel, a decorated Iraq War veteran and Border Patrol agent, was charged in November.
Asked if Fernando Luna might soon take the stand and testify against his younger siblings at their trials, Perez said "that could very easily happen."
Last edited by Everyday Grace; 08-26-2016 at 03:05 AM.
08-26-2016, 04:50 PM #8
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