The corpses of a young man and woman, dangling from a pedestrian walkway in the city of Nuevo Laredo near the US border, showed signs of torture and were badly mutilated, an official at the state prosecutor’s office said on Tuesday.
Los Zetas are led by Heriberto “El Lazca” Lazcano and are considered by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) as the most violent drug cartel and paramilitary enforcement group in Mexico. They have carried out multiple massacres and terrorist attacks on civilians, such as the 2011 Monterrey casino attack, where 52 people were killed, the 2010 Tamaulipas massacre, where 72 migrants were found dead the 2011 Tamaulipas massacre, where 193 people were killed, the massacre of 27 farmers in Guatemala, and the 2008 Morelia grenade attacks, where 8 were killed and over 100 were injured. In addition, sources reveal that Los Zetas may also be responsible for the death of 249 people at the 2011 Durango massacres] and for the 2010 Puebla oil pipeline explosion, which killed 28 people, injured 52, and damaged over 115 homes.
“Watch out, I’ve got my eye on you,” the placard said, according to photos from the scene, warning that the same would happen to all “scandal mongers” on the internet. The placard was signed “Z”, a reference to the Zetas, a notorious drug gang that operates in the area.
The victims, who have not been identified, were aged between 20 and 25, said the official, who asked not to be named.
Two popular websites covering the Mexico drug war, Blog del Narco and Frontera al Rojo Vivo, were mentioned and threatened on the placard.
The Rojo Vivo site, managed by border newspaper El Norte, said all archived material had been cleared from the blog, removing information about contributors. “From now on, we will only publish specific facts and information about border communities and not personal attacks,” read a notice on the site on Thursday.
Wave of fear
Quoting police investigators, Al Jazeera’s Frank Contreras, reporting from Mexico City, said: “The two victims were not journalists but people from the local community. They were using social media to denounce crimes.
“The messages here; from criminal organizations is; that if you try to denounce organized crimes members who commit violent deaths, you too could become a victim.”
Our correspondent said the deaths have started to send a wave of fear across social networks, where people have been denouncing crimes. “That is because in Mexico, in some places where drug-related violence has been raging, news media organizations are not covering the stories,” he said.
“They prefer self-censorship as a way to protect journalists. And so it has fallen on the citizens themselves to report these crimes using social media networks.”
Drug-related violence now makes Mexico one of the world’s most dangerous countries for the press, where drug traffickers often target local media and try to suppress coverage, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).
CPJ says that at least 42 local reporters have been killed over the past five years.
In July, it published a report saying that 15 journalists have been killed since 2010, at least four in direct reprisal for their work.
Many newspapers and other media have stopped publishing graphic photos of murder victims or the calling cards that drug gangs use to threaten rivals, the police or public.
Mexico has become the battleground for brutal turf wars between the Zetas and other drug cartels. Around 42,000 people have died in Mexico’s drug wars since President Felipe Calderon took office in 2006. Calderon has deployed the military onto the streets to take on the cartels.
The Gang, Los Zetas, who on Monday claimed the arson attack which caused 52 deaths in the Mexican city of Monterrey, is one of Mexico’s most violent organizations, also noted for by having comitted massacres in Guatemala.
The facts are as follows;
August 25, 2011 – an arson attack on Monterrey Casino Royale with 52 deaths.
May 15, 2011 – Massacre of 27 people, in the department of El Peten Jungle in Guatemala;
February 14 2011 – Ambush against two officers of the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, one dies.
September 30, 2010 – Murder of American tourist David Hartley as jet skiing in the Falcon Dam on the border.
August 22-23, 2010 – Massacre of 72 migrants on a ranch in Tamaulipas.
June 28, 201 – Bombing that takes the lives as the preferred candidate for governor of Tamaulipas, Rodolfo Torre Cantú, six days before the election.
June 28, 2009 – 15 bodies were found in a house in Los Zetas in the state of Guanajuato, Mexico.
March 25, 2008 – Murder of 11 people, including Guatemalan drug lord Jose Leon, alias “Juancho” in the Guatemalan resort Zacapa.
September 15, 2008 – Attack with eight dead and 100 wounded in Morelia during the celebration of the Grito de Independencia.
August 28, 2008 – 12 suspected drug dealers, beheaded in the Mexican state of Yucatan.
- Mexicans killed for reporting crime on Twitter (guardian.co.uk)
- Cartel Murders a Warning for Social Media Users (latino.foxnews.com)
- Mexico drug radio network smashed (bbc.co.uk)
- Mexico policeman’s family killed (bbc.co.uk)
- Monterrey casino arson attack policeman’s family killed (tancredoradio.wordpress.com)
- Mexico police kill 4 gunmen, rescue kidnap victims (seattletimes.nwsource.com)