The dead bodies of a woman and a man hang from a pedestrian bridge in Nuevo Laredo September 13, 2011. (Photo : Reuters)
The bodies of nine men who had been tortured and executed by an unspecified Mexican drug cartel were found on Friday morning hanging from a bridge in the border city of Nuevo Laredo, in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas. The youngest victim of the massacre was estimated to be 16 years old.
"The individuals were hung [early Friday] from a bridge at the intersection of Colosio Boulevard and the highway leading to Monterrey," a security spokesman in the city told the media.
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Nuevo Laredo is "home" to one of the "most lucrative drug-smuggling routes between Mexico and the United States," Reuters reports. It is estimated that 40 percent of Mexican exports sent to the U.S. go through Nuevo Laredo. This region of Mexico is home to an alleged turf war between the country's Zeta and Gulf drug cartels, officials say.
The murders come just two days after Mexican military captured the head of the Gulf cartel, Jorge Costilla. Costilla was taken into custody in the same state that the murders took place - Tamaulipas. Costilla's arrest is seen by officials as a major victory in President Felipe Calderón's 6-year battle against drug trafficking and gang violence in northeast Mexico.
The Gulf cartel has been battling the rival Zeta cartel over control of the Nuevo Laredo drug route for the past two years. In May of this year the tortured corpses of 9 people, including 4 women, were found hanging from a different bridge in Nuevo Laredo.
Suspected members of the Zeta cartel took responsibility for those murders when they left a message saying that the victims were members of the Gulf cartel and that they were killed for "heating up the plaza," meaning that they allegedly drew unwanted attention to the drug smuggling route from officials.
The Zeta and Gulf cartels used to be affiliated, with the Zetas, a paramilitary group of army deserters acting as the "armed" "enforcers" for the Gulf cartel. The groups severed ties in 2010, according to reports.