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SBSD - Headquarters
Friday February 1st, 2019 :: 08:18 a.m. PST


Cold Case Homicide Team - A suspect in a 1994 murder case is arrested at the Yuma, Arizona border crossing

DATE/TIME:     April 14, 1994/11:00 pm

INCIDENT:       PC187 Murder/PC 664 187 Attempt Murder

LOCATION:     Hwy 62 West of Rawson Road, Morongo Valley 

VICTIMS:         Jesus Munoz, age 17 of Los Angeles (Deceased)
Portirio Chavez Cardenas, age 24 of Los Angeles (Deceased)
Enrique Munoz, age 22 of Los Angeles - at the time of the incident
SUSPECTS:    Mario Montes Banuelos, age 49 of Yuma, Arizona
                         Noe Montes Banuelos, age 45 – deceased, killed in Sonora Mexico July 07, 2018 

On April 14, 1994, at approximately 11:00 p.m., a deputy from the Morongo Basin Sheriff’s Station conducted a traffic stop on a van after observing the van in the middle of Hwy 62 west of Rawson Road, with the emergency flashers on and the headlights on high beam.  As the deputy approached the driver, he saw that he was covered in blood with what appeared to be a gunshot wound to his head.  The deputy conducted a search of the van and located two male adults in the back of the van, later identified as Jesus Munoz and Portirio Chavez Cardenas, deceased from multiple gunshot wounds.  Enrique Munoz was transported to a local area hospital where he was treated for multiple gunshot wounds and released several days later.
Detectives from the Specialized Investigations Division, Homicide Detail responded to the location and assumed the investigation.  Through an extensive investigation, detectives determined that the victims were summoned to a residence in Coachella Valley by one of the suspects.  Once at the residence, the victims were assaulted and forced into a van.  The van was driven to an unknown dirt road in the Morongo Valley where the victims were shot multiple times.  The suspects abandoned the vehicle at that location and were picked up by an unknown person.  Enrique Munoz survived the shooting and was able to drive the van containing the two other victims onto Hwy 62 in the Morongo Valley. 
The suspects were identified as Mario Montes Banuelos and Noe Montes Banuelos.  Arrest warrants were issued for both suspects however, the suspects were believed to have fled San Bernardino County and were possibly hiding out in Mexico. 
Over the next 25 years detectives worked with law enforcement officials from the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office and the United States Marshall’s Service Fugitive Task Force. 
In July of 2018, Detectives assigned to the Homicide Detail - Cold Case Team and the Specialized Enforcement Division received information from the United States Marshall’s Service Fugitive Task Force that suspect, Noe Montes Banuelos, was shot and killed in Sonora Mexico on July 7, 2018. 
On January 24, 2019, Detectives received information that Mario Montes Banuelos was arrested and taken into custody at the Yuma, Arizona border crossing on Saturday, January 19, 2019. 
On Friday, January 25th, Yuma County Sheriff’s Office advised detectives that Banuelos had waived extradition. Detectives travelled to Arizona and took custody of Banuelos and transported him back to San Bernardino County.  He was booked into the Central Detention Center for PC187 Murder and PC664/187 Attempted Murder and is being held without bail.  Banuelos is scheduled for court in Morongo on February 6, 2019.
Anyone with information related to this investigation is urged to call the Homicide Detail, Detective Art Alvarado (909) 387-3589.  Callers may remain anonymous and contact the We-Tip Hotline at 1-800-78-CRIME(27463) or
Refer:              Detective Art Alvarado or Sergeant Gerald Davenport
Station:            Specialized Investigations Division – Homicide Detail
Phone No.:       (909) 387-3589
Case No.:        DR #099400813         H#1994-36

John McMahon, Sheriff-Coroner
San Bernardino County Sheriff-Coroner Department

SBSD - Headquarters
655 E 3rd St
San Bernardino, CA 92408

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