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Murder on the Pipelines: Drug Cartels Turn Texas Oil Routes Into Killing Zones

U.S. Border Patrol agents work in a field near Carrizzo Springs, Texas on July 3
U.S. Border Patrol agents work in a field near Carrizzo Springs, Texas on July 3Photograph by Eddie Seal/Bloomberg

Update, July 24: Adds details of police investigations of deaths throughout.

Linda Vickers fed her horses and was walking back to her house on a secluded Texas ranch when she saw her German shepherds tussling over what looked like a sun-bleached volleyball. When she got close enough to scatter the dogs, her stomach turned: Their toy was a human skull with a shock of red hair, its flesh and lower jaw missing.