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RIO RANCHO, N.M. (AP) — A forgotten, would-be development northwest of Albuquerque has become a harbor for illicit dumping, stolen cars, illegal shooting ranges and even dead bodies.

The Albuquerque Journal reports the unincorporated land in Sandoval County known as Rio Rancho Estates, once envisioned as place for upscale homes, is now a popular spot for people to dispose of just about anything.

Sandoval County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Keith Elder says the 657 miles (1,057 kilometers) of well-maintained dirt roads have helped the area become an attractive spot for illegal dumping.

He says almost 40 percent of all stolen cars that were recovered throughout the county last year were found within 21 square miles (54 square kilometers).

Since August, the bodies of two slain Albuquerque residents have been left in the barren area.


Information from: Albuquerque Journal,