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Former Border Patrol Agent, Cartel Commanding Brother to Soon Face Murder Trial

BROWNSVILLE, Texas — A former U.S. Border Patrol agent and his brother, a reputed Gulf Cartel commander, are expected to go to trial this month for their alleged role in the murder of a Honduran illegal alien.

Former U.S. Border Patrol agent Joel Luna and his brother, Eduardo Luna, are currently facing murder charges in Cameron County and are set to go to trial before 107th Texas District Judge Ben Uresti. Eduardo Luna has previously been identified as “Comandante Pajarito” or Commander Birdie, a lieutenant with Mexico’s Gulf Cartel.

As Breitbart Texas previously reported, in March 2015, tourists fishing during spring break at the beach resort city of South Padre Island discovered the body of Juan Francisco “Franklin” Palacios Paz. The victim, who had been previously deported, was tortured and beheaded before being dumped in the water. By November 2015, authorities had arrested Joel Luna–making public the apparent link between a Mexican drug cartel distribution network and the beheading of Palacios. The murder appears to have been linked to a tire shop in the Texas border city of Edinburg that was owned by one of the Luna brothers and may have been used as part of a marijuana smuggling operation. 

During a raid at one of the homes tied to the Luna family, authorities found drugs, cash, a border patrol rifle, badge, and a jeweled handgun.

As the trial drew near, some of the defendants, including another of the Luna brothers named Fernando, have agreed to plea guilty to lesser charges. In exchange for Fernando Luna’s guilty plea, he managed to avoid being convicted in connection with the beheading. It appears that once the trial starts, Fernando Luna may be testifying against his two brothers.

Ildefonso Ortiz is an award winning journalist with Breitbart Texas. He co-founded the Cartel Chronicles project and you can follow him on Twitter and on Facebook.

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