Mexican drug cartel tied to Huntsville-area killings

    Oralia Mendoza and her granddaughter Mariah Lopez (ABC 31)

    A Mexican drug cartel. Two killings—including a 13-year-old girl.

    This isn’t the plot for a made-for-TV movie. This is real life playing out in a Huntsville courtroom.

    Oralia Mendoza and her granddaughter, Mariah Lopez, were killed last month. According to court testimony, Lopez was beheaded after she witnessed her grandmother being stabbed to death.

    Authorities say Mendoza was associated with the Sinaloa drug cartel. According to testimony, her slaying followed an argument over a drug buy. The two killings happened on June 4.

    Yoni Aguilar is one of two men charged with the murders. His preliminary hearing was on July 12. The other defendant is Israel Palomino. Palomino’s preliminary hearing was delayed.

    The Drug Enforcement Agency says the Sinaloa cartel is one of eight Mexican drug cartels operating in the United States. It’s the most active supplier of illicit drugs among those cartels.

    There is no date yet set for Palomino's preliminary hearing. The case against Agular has been sent to a grand jury for possible indictment.

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