Alleged underworld connections to former Fresno cop lead to murder, arson, and drugs

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Action News dug deeper into the alleged underworld connections of a former Fresno police officer arrested this week and discovered high quantity drug deals, a burned-out truck, and a dead body. It all traces back to a Mexican drug cartel, and the investigation touched home for Alfred Campos, who has since lost his job as part of another criminal investigation.

In the middle of a March night in 2007, sheriff's deputies found a truck on fire in a remote Fresno County field. When the flames were doused, and only the charred shell of a truck remained, deputies discovered the fire was no accident. It was the first piece in a murder investigation.

"The body was burned beyond recognition," said homicide detective John Ciaccio back in 2007.

The dead body turned out to be Jose Guzman, a 32-year-old accused drug dealer who was out on bond. He lived in a house with his two brothers -- Francisco Marin and Alfred Campos, who at the time was a Fresno police officer. Police had raided their home a few months earlier and seized four pounds of meth and $70,000 in cash. Guzman and Marin were charged with felonies. Campos went free. But a search warrant from the investigation into Guzman's murder shows Campos was with his brother just hours before the burned body was found. Legal analyst Ralph Torres says it looks suspicious for Campos to just narrowly miss what he thinks looks like a hit.

"(He) had dinner with the police officer and girlfriends," Torres said. "The next day he's found dead, burned in his vehicle. That's typically the way drug cartels work."

In fact, years later, investigators named Abundio Mendoza Gaytan, as a suspect in the case. The warrant details 27 calls between Gaytan and Guzman in the day before the murder, including several just after Campos says he left his brother. Even though the DEA was investigating Gaytan for drug sales and Fresno County detectives wanted him for murder, he vanished for years. When he finally surfaced in Mexico in 2012, it was because he was arrested for kidnapping and extortion as the leader of a violent drug cartel. Torres says he may have earned his way to the top with his work here in the Valley.

"You could kill your way to that point and there's a wake," Torres said. "There are dead bodies after you do that, and it looks like that's what happened here."

Marin took a plea deal on the drug case soon after his brother was killed. But he was at the house again when we were looking for Campos Wednesday. Marin tells Action News his brother is innocent of any crimes from back then and the stolen truck case he's facing now, but so far, the brothers have not agreed to let us interview them.

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