The Texas execution of a Mexican Mafia hit man Wednesday leaves the state with only enough of the lethal injection drug pentobarbital to execute one more inmate before their supply is exhausted, according to Fox News.
It’s becoming increasingly difficult for Texas, and other states using capital punishment, to come up with more supplies of the powerful sedative used for executions.
This week’s Texas execution of 46-year-old Manuel Vasquez is the fourth by the state this year, and the 522nd since the state reintroduced the use of capital punishment, according to the Texas Tribune.
Vasquez was convicted of the 1998 killing of a San Antonio woman who refused to pay a tax on her illegal drug trade to the Mexican Mafia. Vasquez and two other men broke into 51-year-old Juanita Ybarra’s hotel room and beat her and her boyfriend before strangling Ybarra.
The three were acting under orders from Rene Munoz, a Mexican Mafia boss who was on the Most Wanted List of the Texas Department of Public Safety until his capture in 2012, according to Fox News.
The next Texas execution scheduled is Randall Mays, who was convicted of killing two East Texas Deputies during a Henderson County shootout in 2007, followed by more in April, but only if the state can secure more of the drug.
Other states using capital punishment across the country are also running into supply problems, as drug manufactures refuse to sell their products for use in executions.
Utah authorized the use of firing squads Tuesday while Arkansas is considering the same. The Oklahoma legislature is considering a bill authorizing the use of nitrogen gas for use in executions, according to BBC News.
The practice of capital punishment has come under fire recently following several botched executions and the Texas execution of a mentally ill man earlier this year.
In another Texas execution, a father convicted in the arson death of his three daughters may have been wrongfully put to death in 2004, as reported by the Inquisitr.
Cameron Todd Willingham fled his burning house after he was unable to locate his daughters, but prosecutors said he started the fire to cover up his abuse of the children.
Texas is exploring other options to continue the use of executions, including the use of midazolam, a drug at the center of a Supreme Court challenge, according to the Texas Tribune.
“I remain optimistic we’ll be able to carry out executions according to the schedule,” Brad Livingston, executive director of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, told the Associated Press. “Time will tell.”