Warrant: Cocaine money may have been motive behind Smith County gang-related double shooting


Photo: Smith County Sheriff’s Office

TYLER, Texas (KETK) – Money owed from a drug deal may have been behind the shooting that left two brothers dead in Smith County last week. They were later identified as Justino Rosales-Betancourt, 32, and Jose Betancourt, 35

According to an arrest warrant obtained by KETK News, Ramiro Ortiz, 34, was at home on Sunday, June 29 after a family barbecue. Around 11 p.m., a man believed to be Ortiz’s nephew returned to the home.

After Ortiz talked with him, he went back into his bedroom with his wife and told her that he had to go collect money owed him. Ortiz’s wife told police that he sells cocaine.

She tried to convince him to stay, but Ortiz left anyway. 15 minutes later, the wife told police that he returned. Later that night, he was helping her feed their baby when he again said he had to go outside.

Minutes later, multiple gunshots rang out. Ortiz came into the house panicked, according to the warrant. He was bleeding from the face, but told his wife that “it was just a graze.”

Ortiz then told her to pack a back and leave for her brother’s house.

As she was leaving, she saw the two dead men in their yard but did not recognize them. The warrant states that one had a rifle with a drum magazine slung around his body.

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