January 5, 2012
“Carina Saunders: Teen Tortured, Dismembered, Beheaded by Trafficking Gang.” International Business Times, 23 December 2011:
For KFOR.com news channel 4 (Oklahoma City) videos pertaining to this incident see: http://www.kfor.com/news/local/kfor-graphic-suspect-arrested-after-girls-body-found-in-duffle-bag-20111220,0,6407719.story.
For a detailed 14:50 minute news video of a law enforcement press conference related to this incident see NewsOk, http://newsok.com/another-arrest-made-in-bethany-killing/article/3633876.
Who: Carina Saunders, 19, born in Oklahoma City and grew up in Mustang, Oklahoma.
What: Torture, beheading and dismemberment.
When: Went missing (per friends) Wednesday, 28 September 2011; Killed, late Sunday, 9 October 2011/early Monday, 10 October 2011; Body found Thursday, 13 October 2011; Identified via tattoos and dental records, Monday, 17 October 2011.
Where: Found in a duffle bag behind a Homeland grocery store at 7101 NW. 23rd and Rockwell in Bethany, Oklahoma.
Why: Used as an example to terrify a group of women who were victims of a human trafficking (prostitution) ring and an associated drug trafficking ring. Note— some of the individuals involved were members of both rings.
Tactical Analysis: A 20 year old woman (name withheld by the police to protect her identity) was kidnapped, blindfolded and transported to an unknown location (some type of room) by Jimmy Lee Massey, age 33, late Sunday 9 October/early Monday 10 October 2011. She was then forced to watch the torture killing of Carina Saunders by a small group of individuals.
The incident intent of the criminal gang(s) was for the 20 year old woman to let the other victims (i.e. sex slaves) of the ring know that, if they did not cooperate with gang member orders, this is what would happen to them too. The woman who witnessed this crime instead went to the police and reported the incident. Jimmy Lee Massey (aka “Big County” or “Country”) was subsequently arrested on 4 November 2011 and booked on drug trafficking warrants— he had also been the focus of a large narcotics investigation. Massey was read his Miranda Warnings and Rights, then waived them, and proceeded to discuss his part in the kidnapping of the 20 year old woman, the torture killing of Saunders, and the dismemberment of her body and its disposal. He now faces charges, filed on Tuesday, 20 December 2011, related to kidnapping, assault and battery, and murder. It should be noted that “Massey also identified other persons that were involved and present in the room and involved in the murder.”
Another suspect, Francisco Gomez, age 31, was then taken into custody on 20 December 2011. Per a law enforcement press conference pertaining to this incident, Gomez is thought to be a US citizen, however, quite a few Mexican nationals have been implicated as also having ties to this incident and/or the drug trafficking ring. This is an ongoing investigation with more suspects and/or persons of interest being sought.
Whether this incident is directly linked to Mexican cartel/gang involvement or inspired by such killings is unknown at this time. Of note is that a NewsOk report has its story on this incident linked to a page entitled “Cartel Connection: Oklahoma’s #1 Threat” with a state highway map and drug cartel-based crimes superimposed over a map of the state of Oklahoma.
This torture killing (decapitation) incident is of much concern because it has all the hallmarks of a Mexican cartel killing. If this incident is directly tied to Mexican cartel or gang members, it will neither be the first nor the last such incident, with a small but growing, number of torture killing (decapitation) incidents now having taken place domestically over the last decade. These include the following US incidents (see Table 2.) listed in Pamela L. Bunker, Lisa J. Campbell, and Robert J. Bunker, “Torture, beheadings, and narcocultos” in Narcos Over the Border: