© Pinal County Sheriff'S Office/AP
This image provided Saturday by the Pinal County Sheriff's Office, shows the vehicle where five dead bodies found burned inside in Pinal County's Vekol Valley area, west of Casa Grande, Ariz.
Five bodies burned beyond recognition in a charred vehicle discovered in the southern Arizona desert appear to be victims of drug-smuggling violence, Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu said Saturday.
Deputies are searching for suspects in the killings just west of Casa Grande, in desolate Vekol Valley between Phoenix and Tucson, NBC Station KVOA of Tucson reported.
Around 4:30 a.m. Saturday, a border patrol agent saw a Ford Expedition pulled over on Interstate 8, Babeu said. The vehicle had gone airborne off the interstate, he said. When the agent approached the SUV, the driver took off.
The smoldering Expedition was found about 8:30 a.m. Four bodies were found in the cargo area and one was in the backseat, Babeu said. None were in the driver or passenger seats, he said.