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Cartel hitmen crossed US border illegally to commit home invasion and murder, police say

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Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Authorities in Zapata County, Texas, are looking for help identifying a hitman for a Mexican drug cartel who is accused of crossing the border illegally, breaking into a man's home, and murdering him.

Police said last Wednesday that a sicario, or hitman, of the "Tropa Del Infierno" gang carried out a fatal home invasion in the Medina Addition of Zapata. They are seeking the public's help in identifying the suspect, who is accused of participating in the murder of 22-year-old man, the Laredo Morning Times reported.

A press release from the Zapata County Sheriff's Office said that on Friday, July 23, police responded to a call in the Medina Addition where gun shots had been fired in the early morning. Arriving at the scene of the incident, police found a young man in his early 20s who had been shot multiple times in his own home, where he died of his injuries. The victim was identified as Santos Flores III.

Investigators determined the victim was murdered during a home invasion. Two male suspects identified as David Mendez Jr. and Billardo Alaniz were arrested by police on charges of murder and home invasion.

"During the course of the investigation it was discovered that Mendez and Alaniz had picked up two unidentified male subjects who had entered the United States illegally through Falcon Lake," the sheriff's office said. "The two unidentified male subjects were later found to be cartel hitmen also known as 'Sicarios' for the 'Tropa Del Infierno' organization."

Police said that "Tropa Del Infierno" is a "professional organization for highly qualified hitmen" that works for the Cartel Del Noreste.

Mendez and Alaniz were allegedly responsible for taking the two hitmen to the victim's residence, where he was murdered. Police said that after the killing, Mendez picked up the hitmen miles away from the scene of the crime and transported them to a safe house.

The sheriff's office is in charge of the investigation with assistance from the Webb and Zapata County District Attorney's Office, Texas Department of Public Safety Texas Rangers Division, and the U.S. Border Patrol.

"These agencies have been working diligently in hopes of finding the individuals that are responsible for committing this drug cartel related home invasion murder," the sheriff's office said.

The sheriff's office released a photograph of a person of interest in the investigation.

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