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PCSO: Suspect identified in 'septic tank murders'

Posted at 12:30 PM, Aug 29, 2016

Pinal County Sheriff's deputies have identified a suspect in the brutal murders of two men whose bodies were found years apart in Casa Grande.

In May 2008, PCSO deputies found a burned out truck that belonged to 36-year-old Baltazar Lopez, a man reported missing out of west Phoenix at the end of April 2008.

PCSO worked with Phoenix Police who originally took Lopez's missing person report. Lopez was reported missing with Azaren Cordova, also 36 years old. Both men told friends they were going to look at a truck in Casa Grande, but were never heard from again.

In January 2009, hikers located a skull and a shallow grave near Casa Grande. Remains of a second person were found by maintenance workers in a septic tank at a Casa Grande home in September 2014.

Investigators found similarities in both cases, including dismemberment patterns on both of the bodies. DNA tests confirmed the 2009 remains belonged to Lopez and the 2014 remains belonged to Cordova.

While Cordova had no known criminal history, Lopez reportedly had an extensive one -- he was involved in the drug trade from Mexico to Phoenix and was associated with a drug-trafficking organization from Sinaloa, Mexico.

Confidential sources linked Lopez to Fausto Negrete-Olivas, 43, and his 48-year-old brother Dionicio -- both known to be high-level drug traffickers. In 2010 when Fausto Negrete-Olivas was in custody on drug charges, he admitted to meeting with Lopez and said unknown people kidnapped both Lopez and Cordova. He was released from custody in 2013 and deported to Mexico.

PCSO has identified Fausto Negrete-Olivas as the main suspect in the case. He has resided in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico but his current location is not known.

Dionicio Negrete-Olivas is considered an investigative lead, but his whereabouts are also unknown.

If you have any information, contact Pinal County Sheriff's Office at 520-866-5111.