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Ariz. authorities find 5 bodies in burned vehicle

Ariz. authorities find 5 bodies in burned vehicle

CREATED Jun 2, 2012 - UPDATED: Jun 2, 2012

VEKOL VALLEY, Ariz. (AP) Five bodies have been found in a burned out sport utility vehicle in the Arizona desert, and Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu says it's likely connected to drug cartels.

Babeu tells The Associated Press that investigators believe it was the same vehicle that fled from Border Patrol agents before dawn Saturday.

At daybreak, an agent spotted tracks off Interstate 8 that led into the desert. The smoldering SUV was then spotted with binoculars.

Inside, agents found one body in the back passenger seat and four others lying in the rear cargo compartment. They were burned beyond recognition. The driver's seat and front passenger seat were empty.

Babeu calls the latest incident significant. He says he's concerned about the extent of the violence in the western part of the county, saying drug smuggling north of the U.S.-Mexico border has not subsided.