County part of America’s Most Wanted episode

Crews from the television show America’s Most Wanted were in town last week, filming footage for an upcoming episode.

Evan Marshall, a producer for the Fox network hit, said the entire show will focus on Mexican drug trafficking. It is tentatively scheduled to air May 16.

“The reason we came to Shelby County is to demonstrate why the Mexican drug problem and Mexican drug violence is our problem, too. We want to show why we should care,” Marshall said.

The show’s crew was in Columbiana to interview Shelby County Sheriff Chris Curry.

“We’ve been to Houston and Fort Worth, but drug violence is starting to seep its way north. Shelby County is 1,000 miles north of the border, which seems the perfect place to highlight the problem it’s causing. Shelby County is middle America. This is the kind of place where most people live in this country.”

America’s Most Wanted producers were lured to Shelby County by the August 2008 murder of five Hispanic men in an Inverness apartment.

The five men — all illegal immigrants — were found with their throats slashed. They had also been beaten and electrocuted, law enforcement officials said.

Officials said the killings were murders for hire. Six suspects are in custody and have been charged with the murders. They are alleged to be part of an organized drug group and are accused of either paying for the murders or carrying out the hits.

“We are going to touch on that case. The nature of our show is catching people and we focus on cases that are not solved. We will be talking about a number of cases that are unsolved. In the Shelby County case, it looks like the people responsible are in custody,” Marshall said.

He said the episode will call on the public to get involved and will point out things they can be doing to help with the problem.