Sheriff Dupnik has said there is ample drug activity between here and the border. The suggestion has angered the residents of Arivaca, a town of retirees, artists and working people about 50 miles south of Tucson. “This is a good town,” said Fern Loveall, 76. “It’s a good place to live, and it’s a good place to raise kids. What they’re saying about it isn’t true.”
Members of Mr. Flores’s family also denied that he had had any connection to the drug trade.
“He was a good guy,” said Gilbert Mungaray, his 80-year-old grandfather. “I know what happened, but I can’t imagine why.”
The family’s house was silent this week. An American flag hung on the porch, and three pink roses adorned the front door. Down a dirt road, at the local community center, a picture of Brisenia, the slain daughter of Mr. Flores and Ms. Gonzalez, had been placed in a frame with a small black ribbon affixed to it.
For the regulars at La Gitana Cantina, a friendly establishment with a mixed clientele of Anglos and Mexican-Americans, emotions have ranged from abject sorrow to rage.
“I’ve had people come into the bar and just put their heads in their hands, and all the sudden they’ve got tears pouring down their face,” said Karen Lippert, a bartender. She added that while Mr. Gaxiola was a local, the two other suspects were not.
“This is not us guys,” she said. “It’s the not the way us guys operate.”