Sheriff Babeu's public relations battle

Posted: Updated:
By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

PINAL COUNTY, Ariz. -- Time after time Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu has stepped in front of the cameras to link violence and drugs in the Vekol Valley to the Mexican drug cartels.

Previously, Babeu told 3TV that Pinal County is “the number one pass through county for drug and human smuggling in all of America.”

He went on to say about the Vekol Valley, “My deputy was ambushed there. We’ve had murders, we’ve had kidnappings.”

Sometimes, those claims have been verified.

Other times, they have been impossible to verify or seriously called into question.

On Saturday, Sheriff Babeu wrote on his Facebook page that evidence indicated the five bodies found in a burned out car were connected to the violent drug cartel smuggling that is often prevalent in the area.

He also said that the situation in the Vekol Valley does not appear to be suicide.

However, Tempe Police have a different theory.

They announced on Tuesday that the evidence points to a murder-suicide; a family affair, not a drug or cartel killing.

Babeu’s credibility will be key to his attempt to win re-election as Pinal County Sheriff.

He is still under investigation related to allegations from an ex-boyfriend who says Babeu threatened to deport him if he went public with their relationship.

He is also under federal investigation for allegedly using public resources for his political campaign.