Police officials say 5 suspects have been arrested in a killing in the California desert in a dispute over marijuana

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SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (AP) — Five people have been arrested in the investigation surrounding six bodies found last week. At a remote dirt crossroads in the Southern California desert in a dispute over marijuana, police officials said Monday.

Authorities discovered the bodies in the Mojave Desert outside the El Mirage after someone called 911 and said he had been shot, said San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Sgt. Michael Warrick said. Five bodies were found late Tuesday and a sixth the next morning.

Five suspects were arrested after deputies served search warrants Sunday in the Adelanto and Apple Valley areas of San Bernardino County and the Pinion Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles County, Warrick said at a news conference.

“We are confident that this appears to be a dispute over marijuana,” he said.

Warrick said that all suspects in the case have been arrested. The five men, aged between 24 and 34, were being held without bail.

Warrick said it was likely that all the victims were shot and that four bodies were burned together. He added that a fifth victim was found inside a Chevrolet Trailblazer, while the sixth victim was discovered in the desert a short distance away.

Warrick said four of the victims have been identified so far.

Officials said the scene showed a “level of violence” reminiscent of drug cartels, but investigators could not immediately confirm gang involvement.

Aerial footage from television stations last week showed a dark blue SUV with a smashed passenger window and another door open, with part of the image blurred. The footage also showed numerous yellow evidence markers in the rugged desert.

The area is located about 80 kilometers northeast of Los Angeles, and is so remote that the police department requested assistance from the California Highway Patrol’s Aviation Division to find the scene of the accident.

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