Man held in Wyoming in California cemetery killings

STEFANIE DAZIO and MEAD GRUVER
This wanted poster provided by the Riverside County Sheriff's Department shows Jose Luis Torres Garcia. Authorities are seeking Garcia who is considered "armed and very dangerous" and is believed to have killed three men and left their bodies in a Southern California cemetery, the Riverside County sheriff said Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020. Sheriff Chad Bianco said at a news conference there is a felony warrant out for the arrest of Garcia, with $3 million bail. Bianco did not say how the men were killed. (Riverside County Sheriff's Department via AP)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A man wanted for killing three people in a Southern California cemetery was arrested Thursday during a traffic stop in Wyoming, authorities said.

Jose Luis Torres Garcia was taken into custody in Cheyenne, Wyoming, according to the Riverside County Sheriff's Department in California. Officials also said they discovered 15 pounds (6.80 kilograms) of marijuana in the vehicle.

The Wyoming Highway Patrol pulled over and arrested Garcia after spotting a GMC Yukon on Interstate 80 east of Cheyenne, patrol spokesman Sgt. Jeremy Beck said. Riverside authorities had earlier asked law enforcement and the public to look for the Yukon.

The three men — Jaime Covarrubias Espindola, 50; Jose Maria Aguilar-Espejel, 38 and Rodrigo Aguilar-Espejel, 28 — were killed at the same time in Perris, which is east of Los Angeles. Their bodies were found Feb. 17 at the Perris Valley Cemetery.

Riverside Sheriff Chad Bianco has said Garcia, 33, acted alone and knew the three victims. They were discovered near the grave of a man who died in Mexico. Officials have not said whether a relationship existed between the person buried there and the victims.

Riverside authorities had put out a warrant for Garcia's arrest on Feb. 20, saying he was “armed and very dangerous.” Officials have said they did not know Garcia's motive in the slayings.

The sheriff has said Garcia has ties to San Jose, California, and Mexico. He has been deported twice. But authorities had not yet determined his current immigration status last week. There were already two misdemeanor warrants out for his arrest regarding other cases.

It was not immediately clear if Garcia had an attorney who could speak on his behalf.

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Gruver reported from Cheyenne, Wyoming.