EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – Juarez police have arrested three men and a woman in connection to the Sunday murder of a man whose body parts they allegedly left on a sidewalk under a miniature Christmas tree.

The suspects were carrying a backpack with bloody knives and a machete; they are known members of a criminal gang and have previously been convicted of drug offenses, migrant smuggling and assault, said Juarez municipal police Chief Cesar Omar Munoz.

The murder victim is a male in his 20s. Munoz said the suspects told investigators during questioning that they killed the man for selling drugs in their southeast Juarez neighborhood for a rival gang.

They allegedly left the man’s dismembered body inside plastic bags under the tree and hung some body parts as ornaments as a warning. The southeast area of the city has seen several drug-related murders this year involving the Aztecas and another gang that Munoz did not identify.

This is the sidewalk where gang members in Juarez left a small Christmas tree with body parts as ornaments and bags containing the remains of a dismembered male under the tree. (Border Report photo)

Police have not identified the victim and they only released the first names of the suspects: Misael G.Q., 33, Brisa Lizbeth G.R., 22, Emanuel C.P., 28, and Edwin G.B., 32.

Juarez as of Sunday had reported 1,363 homicides for the year – most of them drug-related –, according to the nonprofit FICOSEC.

The homicides have shot up in the past three years as the major drug cartels operating in Juarez — Sinaloa and La Linea (formerly Juarez cartel — have turned to paying their associated gangs in drugs instead of cash and are bent on developing a domestic drug-consumption market, experts have told Border Report.