Three of the kidnapped victims from the wedding last week, found "encajuelados" in the back of a pickup truck, were from La Mesa, New Mexico. The groom was Rafael Morales Valencia, 29. Also executed was his brother Jaime, 25, and Guadalupe Morales Arriola, 51, their uncle.
La Mesa is best known for Severo's bar and Chope's, restaurants renowned for their excellent cuisine and unpretentious decor. The late Chope Benavides, who proudly pointed out he looked like the Indian on the face of the nickel coin, was one of the movers and shakers among precinct chairs in the Mesilla Valley Democratic Party when I was county chairman thirty years ago. Statewide candidates made it a point to stop at his bar and ask for his help.