TUCSON - Two Mexican men were killed and two were wounded 20 miles north of the Arizona-Mexico border after men wearing camouflage and armed with assault rifles attacked them as they smuggled marijuana into the country, authorities said.
The two wounded men and two other men who were not hurt found help at the home of a woman near Aliso Springs. The four knocked on her door around 10 a.m. Monday, Santa Cruz County Sheriff Tony Estrada said.
One of the men had been shot in the back and the other was shot in the forearm.
When deputies arrived, the men told them two more men might still be in the desert near Aliso Springs, an area popular among human and drug smugglers.
At about 2:30 p.m., deputies found the body of one man. They found another dead man just before 5 p.m.
One of the men had apparently died of gunshot wounds. The other had fallen down a ravine and had sustained injuries to his head; the cause of his death is still under investigation, and it was unclear whether he had suffered gunshot wounds.
The four survivors of the incident, from Imuris, Sonora, told authorities they were backpacking marijuana from Mexico into the United States when they were confronted by three robbers in camouflage clothing and armed with assault rifles, Estrada said.
The men dropped the marijuana and fled as the assailants fired at them, he said.
The two men who were shot but survived were taken to a Tucson hospital. The other two men will be detained by the U.S. Border Patrol as witnesses.
Authorities have notified the Mexican Consulate of the incident.