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April 3, 2013 at 12:00 PM
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Dismembered bodies found dead in Texas SUV

MIDLAND, Texas, April 3 (UPI) -- The gruesome killings of nine people found in an SUV in Mexico have a link to the town of Midland, Texas, Mexican authorities said.

The Tamaulipas State Attorney General's office said a gray GMC Yukon with dismembered bodies inside had Texas license tags indicating the vehicle was registered in Midland, KWES-TV in Midland, Texas reported.

Midland police said they don't have a stolen vehicle report on file for the GMC Yukon.

However, Fred Burton, vice president of an Austin global intelligence agency, said the bulk of vehicles stolen in Texas end up south of the border.

"At the end of the day this is the kind of secondary crime that bad guys are using that help facilitate the shipment of drugs across the country," Burton said.

The Zetas and Gulf drug cartels operate in Tamaulipas.

Mexican authorities have not said whether either group was involved in the deaths of the nine.

Suspect on loose after border shooting

SUMAS, Wash., April 3 (UPI) -- U.S. and Canadian authorities were searching for a man they said shot at U.S. Border Patrol officers in Washington state.

U.S. Border Agent Eric Dorais said officers saw two suspected drug smugglers wearing camouflage clothing and carrying backpacks Tuesday on a logging trail approximately 8 miles from the Sumas, Wash., border crossing with Abbotsford, British Colombia.

When officers tried to make contact with the men, "one of the subjects fired at the agents and fled into the woods," Dorais said in a statement.

Border Patrol officers arrested the other man, The Bellingham (Wash.) Herald reported. They also recovered a backpack at the scene.

Authorities described the shooter as a black man wearing camouflage and a handgun holster, the newspaper said.

Abbotsford police joined the manhunt when they were notified the armed man may have fled toward Canada, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported.

Nearby Upper Sumas Elementary School was locked down, the CBC reported.

Poll: 60 percent favor stricter gun laws

NEW YORK, April 3 (UPI) -- A national poll indicates that the majority of U.S. residents favor stricter gun laws, including a ban on assault weapons and universal background checks.

Six in 10 respondents said laws covering gun sales should be tougher, NBC News reported.

That figure represents 83 percent of Democrats, 43 percent of gun owners and 37 percent of Republicans.

NBC News said the poll's results are virtually the same from an earlier poll in February, when 61 percent backed stricter gun laws.

The Morning Joe/Marist poll also found that 87 percent of respondents support background checks for firearm purchasers, and 59 percent favor the ban of assault weapons.

The results come as the U.S. Senate is preparing to consider gun legislation, backed by Democrats and opposed by many Republicans.

The Morning Joe/Marist poll, conducted March 25 through March 27, included 1,219 national respondents who were surveyed by both land line phone and cell phone. It has a margin of error of three percentage points.

Maids: FBI wanted us to lie about Menendez

MIAMI, April 3 (UPI) -- Two maids who work for Dr. Salomon Melgen in the Dominican Republic say FBI agents used threats to try to get them to lie about U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez.

Both women say they were pressured to give statements that Menendez partied with prostitutes at Melgen's villa in the Casa de Campo resort in La Romana, The Miami Herald reported. They filed written affidavits asking Dominican police to investigate the agents' conduct.

Melgen, a Miami-area eye doctor, is a major political contributor. There are also allegations that Menendez, D-N.J., used his political clout to help Melgen's business interests in the Dominican Republic.

Rosa de Jesus Acosta said she was questioned at the police station by the agents.

"She stated that on the occasions that Mr. Menendez had visited the doctor's villa, he only played golf and spent most of the time alone, reading and resting," an affidavit said. "Despite her reiteration of this, on more than one occasion the agents pressured her psychologically by stating that she could be jailed if she did not say what they expected."

The other maid, Miriam Rivera, said she "could tell that the interrogators did not like her responses."

Police in the Dominican Republic say a local lawyer paid three women to make videotapes falsely saying Menendez had paid them for sex.

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