Justice in Mexico

Spillover Violence in Arizona and California

01/21/12— Two apparently unrelated killings in the Southwest region of the United States this month have brought the issue of ‘spill-over violence’ back into the spotlight. On Friday, January 6, 2012, a man’s decapitated body was located west of the Tuscan Mountains in Arizona. The body was discovered missing its hands, feet, and head, none of which were found on the scene and the head still undiscovered. The body was allegedly found by two gardeners working in the area,  both of whom have been questioned and released from custody. U.S. customs, border patrol, and local and federal police are all collaborating in an investigation as to the man’s identity and the motives for his death. Border patrol allegedly discovered 400 kilograms of marijuana in an abandoned truck near the body’s location. The drugs are suspected to have come from Mexico.

On the January 17, another decapitated head belonging to Harvey Medellin was found beneath the famed Hollywood sign in California. Hands and feet were also discovered, but Medellin’s body has yet to be found. An investigation is currently being conducted and authorities are reluctant to provide information to the media, fearing it would hinder the investigation. A friend of Medellin has gone on record stating that he was a former employee of the Mexicana Airlines implicating close ties to Mexico although his nationality has not been revealed.

Although both bodies were found in the same month, authorities do not believe the two cases are related.

Spillover violence, although not as prevalent as many believe, is not unique or isolated. Many concerns of spillover violence were also raised in the death of an Arizonan rancher in May 2010.


Cruz, Veronica M. “Decapitated Body found west of Tucson.” Arizona Daily Star. January 6, 2012.

“Agentes Policiacos Localizan a Decapitado en Arizona.”Periodico Expreso. January 8, 2012.

Rogers, John. “Human Body Parts Near Hollywood Sign Identified; Name Released (UPDATED).” Huffington Post. January 20, 2012.

LM/AN. Víctima de Misterioso Crimen en Hollywood Trabajaba en Aerolínea Mexicana. January 21, 2012.

1 thought on “Spillover Violence in Arizona and California”

  1. Good post! These are two things we have not seen until now. While these remain isolated incidents, it is worrying to see a glimpse of the gruesome violence that has been so widespread and visible in Mexico.

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