A "smaller-scale power struggle in the local drug market" may have led to the murder of a man whose body was found in an abandoned car in Reynoldsburg last summer.

A "smaller-scale power struggle in the local drug market" may have led to the murder of a man whose body was found in an abandoned car in Reynoldsburg last summer.

Reynoldsburg police obtained arrest warrants Monday for two men suspected of murdering Omar Armando Casillas-Castenado, whose decomposed body was found Aug. 21 in a Chevrolet Cavalier parked at the Rosehill Plaza apartment complex, 1200 Rosehill Road.

According to a press release from the Reynoldsburg Division of Police, federal agents detained one of the men, Antonio Martinez-Nunez, at the U.S.-Mexico border on Sunday, Feb. 21, because of an alert put in place by authorities investigating the murder.

Reynoldsburg police Lt. James O'Neil said extradition proceedings have started to bring Martinez-Nunez back to Ohio to face charges in Franklin County.

The second man, Miguel Ahumada, is believed to be in Mexico.

According to police, Casillas-Castenado, 36, was a native of Mexico who was in this country illegally. He was known locally as Jose Huerta and "Pepe."

O'Neil said the murder of Casillas-Castenado appears to be drug-related.

"What we're looking at is a sort of smaller-scale power struggle in the local drug market," he said. "It appears the two suspects were hoping to take over the victim's position in the drug trade here in central Ohio."

He said Martinez-Nunez was detained by federal Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents in Laredo, Texas, when he attempted to re-enter the United States.

Reynoldsburg police, with the help of an interpreter, were able to conduct a telephone interview with Martinez-Nunez. At the conclusion of the interview, warrants then issued for both men in connection with the murder of Casillas-Castenado.

"We were able to conduct a telephone interview through an interpreter, at which point Martinez-Nunez kind of laid out how things happened," O'Neil said. "Based on that, we were able to get murder warrants on both suspects.

"He's not claiming to be the person who actually committed the murder, but he admitted his involvement in it and identified Ahumada as the one who committed the murder."

O'Neil said police investigating the murder last summer had concluded the culprits had fled back to Mexico.

"From the early part of the investigation, we had an idea of who we were looking for and really wanted to talk to," he said.

"At some point, you start to believe you may not catch the break you needed and this one kind of came out of the blue," O'Neil said. "It happened rather rapidly when we were notified."

He said the initial charge against Martinez-Nunez is murder, which is an unclassified felony that carries a sentence of 15 years to life.

"We'll have to wait on the actual indictment to determine what the possible jail time would be," he said.

dowen@thisweeknews.com