Man who says he was cartel enforcer pleads guilty to California murders

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Jose Martinez is led from court Thursday morning after pleading guilty to murder. (Al Whitaker, WHNT News 19)

VISALIA, Calif. (AP) — A man who says he was a cartel enforcer has pleaded guilty to 9 counts of murder in California.

Jose Manuel Martinez entered the plea Tuesday and will be sentenced next month to life in prison without the possibility of parole under the plea deal.

He also pleaded guilty to one count of attempted murder of a 17-year-old.

After being arrested in 2013, the 53-year-old Martinez opened up to investigators about his violent career.

Authorities say he acknowledged killings across the U.S. and refuses to name his cartel associates.

Authorities say they believe Martinez because he gave details that nobody else knows.

The case in California involves the killing of people in Tulare, Kern and Santa Barbara counties.

Last year, Martinez pleaded guilty in an Alabama court and was given a prison sentence of 50 years. While in custody in Alabama, he reportedly told investigators about dozens of other homicides he allegedly committed as a debt collector, or hit-man, for a Mexican drug cartel.