“Pay Up Or Die” Billboard With Mannequin Dangling In A Noose Shocks Commuters In El Paso

The ominous message “Plata o Plomo,” coupled with a dummy hanging in a noose, has triggered an investigation in El Paso, Texas.

1. Updated —May 22, 3:20 p.m. ET

Police in El Paso, Texas, are investigating a bizarre billboard that surprised commuters on the east side of the city on Thursday morning. The sign reads “Plata o Plomo,” a Spanish phrase that loosely translates to “pay up or die” (“plata” is the Spanish word for silver, referring to money, while “plomo” means lead).

It is not known who put up the message or for whom it was intended. A video published on the El Paso Times website shows a mannequin in a suit hanging from a noose off the side of the billboard, seen in the photo below. It appears the mannequin has been taken down.

The company who owns the billboard say the message was vandalism and not an advertisement.

Police say a second billboard with the words “Dying for Drugs” and a mannequin hanging from a noose was found in another part of the city. That billboard has since been taken down.

“This symbol has historically been used by Mexican drug cartels to threaten or intimidate Mexican citizens, business owners and government officials; however, we have never experienced this in El Paso,” Sgt. Chris Mears, a spokesman for the El Paso Police Department, said in a statement.

The fake corpse dangling from this billboard has been taken down. Police now dusting for prints. #liveonkfox14

— GenevieveKFOX14 (@Genevieve Curtis)

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