MONTERREY, Mexico — Mexican police yesterday searched for perpetrators of a drug-war massacre in which 49 people were killed, decapitated, dismembered and left in plastic bags on the side of a highway.
The mutilated corpses, whose hands had been cut off to prevent fingerprint identification, were discovered close to the northern city of Monterrey, 180 km from the US border.
The bodies stacked up at the roadside were of 43 men and six women, said Jorge Domene, a public safety spokesman for the state of Nuevo Leon.
Adrian de la Garza, a prosecutor in Nuevo Leon state, said some of the bodies in Sunday’s shocking find were naked and, although their hands had been cut off, 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 indicated that the victims were killed up to 48 hours earlier in a different location, and were likely transported by truck to where they were found.
“The grisly find was part of what has been happening in the country in general,” said Domene, 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.”
De la Garza argued the victims could be residents of a different state or migrants from other countries transiting through Mexico on their way to the United States.
El Salvador’s foreign ministry said it was “following with attention” events in northern Mexico.
“We condemn in the most energetic form the massacre of 49 people in Nuevo Leon... which becomes part of a series of violent acts perpetrated in this region,” said a statement by the Salvadoran foreign ministry. — AFP