El Paso police are investigating two mysterious messages painted onto billboards that included mannequins dressed in suits hanging from nooses.
The El Paso Times reports that motorists alerted police to the graffiti early Thursday morning. Both billboard companies said the messages were vandalism and not paid advertisements. They were removed.
One of the messages was "silver or lead" in Spanish, a threat heard in Mexico signifying pay up or get shot. The other said "dying for drugs."
El Paso Police spokesman Sgt. Chris Mears said he had never seen anything like it in El Paso. Drug cartels often hang banners in Mexican cities with graphic threats and sometimes hang victims from overpasses, but such public threats are virtually unheard of on the U.S. side.