Southern California

Man in Texas Charged With Murders After Bodies Found in Burning SUV in Orange

Court documents revealed Ruiz was living with two of the victims whose bodies were found in burning vehicles.

A 23-year-old man who has been in a federal prison in Texas was charged with the murders of four people Tuesday after their bodies were found in burned cars in Southern California.

Alejandro Guerrero Ruiz was arrested by border patrol and has been in an El Paso prison since November.

Court documents revealed Ruiz was living with two of the victims whose bodies were found in burning vehicles in Orange and Fontana months ago.

Antonio Medina, 19, and Fernando Meza, 20, of Arizona, and Edgar Berrelleza-Soto, 26, of Orange, were discovered Nov. 9 in a burning SUV on a sidewalk in the 500 block of East Oakmont Avenue near homes.

The fourth victim, Joel Mauricio Berrelleza, 35, of Orange, was discovered dead in the back seat of a car in Fontana on Nov. 15. His body was not burned, officials said.

Court documents also said Ruiz told Orange police that their apartment was ransacked on the day of the murders. He told police he was also tied up and blindfolded.

Police said he told detectives he heard about the three bodies in the burning SUV from news reports.

Days after, Ruiz reportedly tried to take a bus to Charlotte, North Carolina. He was taken into custody when he gave a false name, police said.

NBC4 obtained the police report in which Ruiz told them there was a power play among drug dealers and if he didn't cooperate they would kill him.

Prosecutors said he knew enough to be tied to all four murders.

"The theory is felony murder based on robbery for money or drugs," Scott Simmons, Senior District Attorney, said.

The report also reads that there was a vehicle that had about $100,000 cash in it and was about to be driven to Mexico.

Ruiz said in the report that suspects got their drugs from Mexico as part of a cartel tied to a man named "Chapositro."

Ruiz also said in the report that he and the victims came to the U.S. to sell drugs because they feared "hit men" in Mexico, and thought they'd be safer here.

Prosecutors said they expected they would make more arrests. 

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