ActivePaper Archive Suspect says he killed man to impress cartel - Hobbs News Sun, 12/10/2019

Suspect says he killed man to impress cartel

• Lea County man found dead under the carport of his home south of Hobbs



A man who reportedly wanted to prove himself to a Mexican drug cartel allegedly shot and killed a man last week.

Police said the body of Jose Angel Rivera, 34, was found under the carport of his home between Hobbs and Nadine early Thursday, with a gunshot wound to his forehead.

The man who later allegedly confessed to the killing reportedly told police he murdered Rivera to prove his bravery to a drug cartel.

Anthony Breeding, 35, of Hobbs, was arrested Friday without incident. He is charged with murder, a first-degree felony, aggravated burglary, a second-degree felony, and receiving stolen property and possession of a firearm by a felon, both fourth-degree felonies.

Two men who allegedly aided Breeding in the killing of Rivera were at large as of presstime Monday.

The Lea County Communication Authority received a call at 1:03 a.m. Thursday reporting a man who had been shot in the head at a home in the 300 block of East Llano Grande.

Deputies responded and found Rivera lying underneath the carport in a pool of blood from an apparent gunshot wound to the head. Police said the front door of his home was open with keys still in the door lock.

Police said next to Rivera’s body they found a .380-caliber semiautomatic pistol, as well as numerous empty beer cans that appeared both old and new. Police also observed an apparent bullet hole in the carport.

A neighbor told police he and his wife were awakened by four gunshots. The wife said she saw a white Chevrolet pickup driving away quickly, going eastbound on Llano Grande. The neighbors said they called Rivera’s cellphone several times to no avail, and then the husband drove a golf cart to his home.

The neighbor said a sport utility truck parked in the yard was still running, with the windows down and containing Rivera’s cellphone.

Police obtained a search warrant at 6 a.m. Thursday.

Police said the on-scene investigation revealed the handgun found next to Rivera’s body had not been fired since its eight-round magazine still contained eight live rounds, with an additional live round in the chamber.

“The firearm had not been fired and no other firearms were located around the body,” states the criminal complaint against Breeding. “The gunshot wound to Jose’s head was determined to be an entrance wound and I observed a dark in color ring, also known as powder ring, lining the circular wound.

“Deputies and investigators canvassed the property and did not locate any freshly spent shell casings.”

AN AUTOPSY IN ALBUQUERQUE recovered the bullet from Rivera’s skull. The medical examiner’s examination did not find any other injuries to the victim’s body.

The case broke open the next day, Friday, when a deputy reported that a man who wished to remain anonymous identified Breeding as Rivera’s killer. The anonymous man said Breeding had told him he had killed Rivera.

“The anonymous male advised that the gun that was used was hidden in the chicken coop that was on the property located at 3900 W. Smith Lane,” states the criminal complaint.

Police contacted the property owner, who said Breeding lived in a trailer on her property at 3900 W. Smith Lane.

The property owner said she and Breeding were going to head into town, but that he didn’t want to take the gun into town, so he left it at her residence.

“(The property owner) advised that she had heard that Anthony had killed someone with the gun that he left at her residence so she took the gun and hid it in her chicken coop,” states the criminal complaint. (The property owner) advised that Anthony was at the residence and was waiting for police to show up, stating he wasn’t going to jail.”

Police said when deputies went to recover the firearm, Breeding came out of his trailer with his hands in the air. Police recovered the handgun, which they said had been reported stolen in Odessa, Texas.

Breeding was then interviewed by police.

“While in the interview, Anthony advised that he received a phone call from ‘cartel’ and was sent to collect money from Jose Angel Rivera-Rivera,” states the criminal complaint. “Anthony advised that he and two other male subjects went to the address located at 317 E. Llano Grande in Hobbs, N.M. in a gray in color four-door pickup with a Cadillac front end to collect a $30,000 debt. Anthony advised he did not know who the other two male subjects were, and that he went to show his value with the cartel.”

Breeding reportedly told police the trio of men parked in an empty field to the west of Rivera’s home and watched for a few minutes to ensure no one was home.

“Anthony stated Jose was not supposed to be home and they were going to take his belongings as payment,” states the criminal complaint. “Anthony advised he was told someone needed to go knock on the door to make sure no one was home, and he exited the truck and opened the closed gate to the driveway.”

Breeding reportedly said the trio then drove up to Rivera’s home and he knocked on his door and no one answered. Breeding said the front-passenger got out of the pickup and attempted to kick open the front door, but failed.

“Anthony said they seen headlights on the street heading towards the residence, so they entered the truck to leave, thinking a neighbor saw them attempting to enter the house,” states the criminal complaint. “Anthony stated as they began to leave, Jose showed up to the residence and parked to the west of their truck. Anthony stated the driver (of the trio’s pickup) got out and met Jose at the front of the truck and the two were speaking in Spanish.”

BREEDING SAID RIVERA pulled out a gun and pointed it at the the driver of the pickup in which they arrived at Rivera’s home. Breeding said the front passenger got out with a shotgun and Breeding exited the rear seat.

“Anthony said as he walked around the truck, Jose pointed his gun at him and he reacted by pulling his gun out,” states the criminal complaint. “Anthony stated as he aimed his gun at Jose, Jose began to back pedal away from them underneath the carport. Anthony stated Jose backed into the dark where he could no longer see him, and he shot approximately three to four times at Jose to scare him. Anthony said he shot to show the guys he wasn’t scared. Anthony stated after he shot, they left the residence.”

Breeding reportedly told police the trio of men drove east on Llano Grande and then headed north on N.M. Highway 18 into Hobbs. Breeding said they pulled up to a house and got into another car.

“Anthony said the driver took him home and the driver of the truck left for Arizona,” states the criminal complaint. “Anthony advised before the incident the male subjects told him not to shoot or hurt anyone. Anthony also stated that they all talked about where the street cameras would be and drove on roads that they believed didn’t have cameras.”

During the police interview, Breeding reportedly told police the clothes he was wearing the night of the killing were inside his residence, expect for the shoes that he was then wearing.

“Anthony showed me his shoes and I observed a round hole with a powder burn in Anthony’s right shoe near where his pinkie toe would be,” states the criminal complaint. “I asked Anthony if he shot himself in the foot and he advised he had shot his shoe with the shotgun right before deputies arrived at his residence, due to him being annoyed with himself and messing with the gun.”

Breeding reportedly told police he obtained the shotgun from the owner of his property and that it could be found inside his trailer.

Police said a review of Breeding’s criminal history found he has several felony convictions in Texas, with his latest conviction in August 2011.

Lea County Sheriff Corey Helton told the News-Sun Monday that authorities believe Breeding was working for a Mexican drug cartel.

“Based on the briefing I got and what’s on that police report, that’s what we believe,” Helton said. “The way it was briefed to me is the victim owed an amount of money to the cartel, allegedly.”

Helton said it’s troubling that a drug cartel would target a Lea County resident.

“Yes, it definitely is, but they’ve been around for quite a while,” Helton said.

Helton credited investigators at the sheriff’s office for solving the murder within a week.

“The night they responded, they had nothing to work with, no evidence, no shoe tracks, no shell casings, other than a neighbor calling in four shots being fired,” the sheriff said. “So to get to this point is pretty damn impressive in my book.”

Breeding’s two accomplices remained at large as of press-time Monday.

“We are currently running down leads on their identity,” Helton said. “I’m not certain (they’re in Arizona yet). It’s a possibility, but I’m not certain.”

Jeff Tucker may be reached at managingeditor@hobbsnews. com.