Victims were beaten, electrocuted over drugs

Published 12:01 pm Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The five men found with their throats slashed at an Inverness apartment were killed after a drug deal went bad, Sheriff Chris Curry said.

Police discovered five Hispanic men dead Aug. 20 at Cahaba Lakes apartments, off U.S. 280 behind Home Depot.

The men’s throats were slashed, and they were bound with tape.

District Attorney Robby Owens said the men had been beaten and electrocuted.

The killings were a murder for hire over more than $400,000 in drug money,Curry said.

“What we are dealing with is a deal gone bad,” said Curry.

Four suspects have been arrested and charged with two counts of capital murder.

Charged are: Alejandros Castaneda, 31, of Birmingham; Juan Fransisco Castaneda, 25, of Birmingham; Jaime Duenas Rodriguez, 22, of San Antonio, Texas; and Christopher Scott Jones, 40, of Birmingham.

The men are being held in the Shelby County Jail without bond.

The men were arrested Monday in Shelby and Jefferson counties during traffic stops, Curry said.

Curry said the suspects were part of an organized drug group and are either accused of paying for or carrying out the hits.

So far four of the victims have been identified: Ezequiel Rebollar-Perrban, 23; Jaime Echeverria, 30; Armando Lopez, 20-30 years old; and Angel Horacio Vega-Gonzalez, 23.

The coroner’s office is waiting for out-of-state dental records to confirm the last man’s identity.

The victims were illegal immigrants, possibly from Mexico, Curry said.

In the meantime, officers for dozens of local, state and federal agencies continue to work the case.

The sheriff’s office said there are still at least two persons of interest his office would like to talk with.

Authorites searched two homes in Centerpoint and Castaneda’s Tire and People’s Choice Barber Shop, both in Centerpoint, Monday.

“We still continue to need information,” said Curry