Daily Dispatch

49 murdered in drug-war

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MEXICAN investigat­ors yesterday searched for perpetrato­rs of a heinous drug-war massacre in which 49 people were killed, decapitate­d, dismembere­d and left in plastic bags on the side of a rural highway.

The mutilated corpses, whose hands had been cut off to prevent fingerprin­t identifica­tion, were discovered close to the northern city of Monterrey, 180km from the US border.

Jorge Domene, a public safety spokesman for the state of Nuevo Leon, said the victims comprised 43 men and six women, and the bodies had been stacked up at the roadside.

Adrian de la Garza, a prosecutor in Nuevo Leon state, said some of the bodies in Sunday’s shocking find were naked and their hands had been cut off, though forensic experts were collecting DNA samples.

A note was found at the scene in which the Zetas – a gang set up by ex-commandos who deserted in the 1990s – claimed responsibi­lity.

Initial investigat­ions indicate the victims were killed up to 48 hours earlier in a different location, having likely been transporte­d by truck to where they were found.

“The grisly find was part of what in the country in general,” pointing to other mass killings.

“It is a continuati­on of what has already happened recently in Nuevo Laredo, a few weeks ago in Jalisco and a few months ago in Veracruz.”

The gruesome discovery came just days after police found the dismembere­d, decapitate­d bodies of 18 people in two abandoned vehicles in western Mexico, in what appeared to be a revenge killing involving powerful drug gangs.

Just a few days earlier, there were 23 killings in the city of Nuevo Laredo, in Tamaulipas state, which borders the United States, with nine people found hanging from a bridge and 14 others decapitate­d.

On Friday, gunmen attacked the offices of El Manana newspaper in Nuevo Laredo, even though the newspaper long ago stopped reporting on cartel violence out of fear.

The gunmen sprayed the building with high-caliber ammunition and tossed a homemade grenade at the building as the news staff worked to finish the next morning’s edition. Amazingly, no injuries were reported.

In Tamaulipas, the cartels are fighting for control of a corridor that leads to US Interstate 35, a highway known as one of the most lucrative routes for drug and human smugglers.

Authoritie­s have blamed much of the deadly violence on battles between the Zetas and groups allied to the Sinaloa Federation of Mexico’s most wanted drug lord, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

The state of Veracruz has become a battlegrou­nd between the Zetas and Guzman’s Sinaloa grouping, and journalist­s have also been targeted.

Last week, the dismembere­d bodies of three photograph­ers and a news company employee were found, wrapped in plastic bags, in a canal in the metropolit­an area of Veracruz, a port city on the Gulf of Mexico.

Several days earlier the Veracruz state correspond­ent of the national weekly news magazine Proceso was found strangled in her home.

Late last year, 96 bodies were dumped in public squares and alongside roads in the eastern state in a three-week period, with most of the killings attributed to the rivalry between the Sinaloa cartel and the Zetas.

More than 50 000 people have been killed in drugrelate­d violence since President Felipe Calderon launched an all-out war against the nation’s drug gangs on taking office in December 2006.

Earlier this month, 15 bodies were also discovered on the road to Chapala, Mexico, a popular retirement community for US citizens in Jalisco state. — SapaAFP has been happening said Domene,

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