Note: interesting, but not too sure that he right.
Dumping of 35 bodies in Veracruz seen as challenge to Zetas
by E. EDUARDO CASTILLO,Associated Press
Posted: 09/21/2011 04:46:07 PM MDT
MEXICO CITY (AP) - A gang aligned with Mexico's most wanted drug lord
may be delivering a gruesome challenge to the ruling cartel and
Mexican officials in the Gulf state of Veracruz, by dumping 35 bodies
on a busy avenue in front of horrified motorists and near where the
nation's top prosecutors were about to start a convention.
Authorities said Wednesday they believe the bound, seminude, tortured
bodies unloaded by gunmen during rush hour Tuesday were people
connected with the Zetas cartel, whose presence has grown in the
state since a crackdown began last year in their main base of
Tamaulipas to the north. A dozen of the victims were women, the state
attorney general said.
While Mexican officials would not say who carried out the attack, a
banner left at the scene threatened the Zetas and bore the initials
"G.N." A U.S. law enforcement official said that appeared to refer to
a group tied to Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, widely considered the
world's wealthiest drug trafficker.
But the official, who could not be quoted by name for security
reasons, also said it would be surprising to see heavy involvement in
Veracruz by Guzman's Sinaloa cartel, which is based in the Pacific
coast state of the same name on the other side of Mexico.
Drug trafficking in Veracruz was long controlled by the Gulf Cartel.
But the business has been taken over by the Zetas, who had acted as
enforcers for the Gulf Cartel before breaking away in early 2010 and
waging a bloody war with
their former allies across northeastern Mexico.
"We don't have anything that corroborates or disputes" that the body
dumping was linked to Guzman, the U.S. official said, adding that
other sources say the Gulf Cartel could have been responsible.
"Sometimes these criminal groups blame the other guys."
Security expert Raul Benitez agreed it could be possible, however,
because Guzman is forming alliances to attack the Zetas in other
parts of Mexico. He said Guzman is seeking both to control territory
and to punish the Zetas for attacking civilians, something that is
shunned by most drug traffickers and that has ramped up government
heat on all cartels. Veracruz, with its major port, is a key route
for cocaine passing through Mexico from Guatemala en route to Texas.
The Zetas have been blamed in two of Mexico's biggest mass killings
of civilians since the federal government stepped up a crackdown on
organized crime in 2006: the massacre last year of 72 migrants in
Tamaulipas and a casino fire last month in the northern industrial
city of Monterrey that killed 52 people, mostly women playing bingo
and slot machines.
"El Chapo wants to ruin the Zetas in all locations because of their
errors in Tamaulipas and Monterrey," said Benitez, of the National
Autonomous University of Mexico. "Those were mistakes for other
Photographs of the bodies showed them handcuffed, bloodied and
bruised, some marked with a "Z'' on their torsos. Veracruz State
Attorney General Reynaldo Escobar Perez told MVS radio Wednesday that
they had been dead only a few hours.
Escobar, who earlier reported that many of the victims had links to
organized crime, said they had records for kidnapping, extortion,
murder and drug dealing. He called the killings unprecedented in a
state where crime has been escalating dramatically, including deadly
attacks on soldiers and journalists.
"The killing of 35 people is deplorable, but it's even more
deplorable the same victims chose to extort, kidnap and kill,"
Veracruz Gov. Javier Duarte wrote via Twitter.
Authorities said they were examining surveillance video for clues to
who left the 35 bodies beneath an overpass while other gunmen pointed
weapons at frightened drivers.
Stunned motorists grabbed cellphones and sent Twitter messages
warning others to avoid the area, which was alongside the biggest
shopping mall in Boca del Rio, part of the metropolitan area of
Veracruz city and less than a mile (1 kilometer) from where Mexico's
top state and federal prosecutors and judiciary officials began a
The bodies were left piled in two trucks and on the ground near the
statue of the Voladores de Papantla, ritual dancers from Veracruz state.
Among the bodies was a local police officer who had disappeared two
weeks ago, Escobar told W Radio in Mexico City.
Escobar said 12 of the victims were women.
At least 32 inmates got away from the three Veracruz prisons. Police
recaptured 14 of them.
Drug violence has claimed more than 35,000 lives across Mexico since
2006, according to government figures. Others put the number at more
The Gulf Cartel and the Zetas broke apart over the killing of a Zeta
in the border city of Reynosa, across from McAllen, Texas, in January
2010. They have made a war zone of northeastern Mexico, drawing heavy
presence of military and federal police in a special operation to
stop the violence.
Since then, Zetas from the Mexico border area have been showing up in
Veracruz, the U.S. official said.
Under Guzman, Sinaloa has grown bloodier and more powerful,
controlling cocaine trafficking on the Mexican border with
California, while expanding eastward to the corridor between Sonora
and Arizona and waging a fierce battle for Chihuahua state bordering
Mexico's most powerful drug cartel also appears to be expanding
methamphetamine production on a huge scale, but has not been known to
operate along the Gulf of Mexico coast.