Victim in fatal AZ kidnapping had been accused of smuggling - WNEM TV 5

Victim in fatal AZ kidnapping had been accused of smuggling

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A kidnapping victim whose body was found this week in the desert in Pima County was accused more than two years ago of smuggling nearly 70 pounds of marijuana into southern Arizona from Mexico.

Authorities declined to say whether the fatal shooting of Fabian Maldonado-Leon was drug-related and wouldn't reveal theories being pursued by investigators.

Sheriff's officials say the killing is being investigated as a homicide.

Over the last several years, drug traffickers in Arizona have kidnapped rivals, associates or their family members as a way to collect unpaid debt for lost trafficking loads, make quick money from crews flush with cash or as retaliation for earlier abductions.

Maldonado-Leon was reported as having been kidnapped in Tucson on Sunday.

His body was discovered in the desert about eight hours later.

Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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