04/12/12 – Amidst a string of violence this week across several states in Mexico, the story of 13 killed taxi drivers in Guerrero and Nuevo León over a two-day span has taken the spotlight. On Monday, April 9, seven bodies were found inside a vehicle in Acapulco, Guerrero, five of which were taxi drivers. The following day, eight cab drivers were killed in two separate attacks that occurred minutes apart in Monterrey–the capital of Nuevo León–in which three bystanders were injured, including an eight-year-old girl.
Authorities indicated that the taxi cab drivers killed in Nuevo León were all believed to be “halcones,” or hawks, for the Zeta Cartel. The term “halcón” is used in narco-trafficking jargon to denote accomplices that act as lookouts for cartels and crime groups. Ministerial Police (Policía Ministerial) in Nuevo León noted that the drivers killed did not have permits to operate their vehicles, but were doing so as a cover to guard the neighborhoods they were patrolling. Although unconfirmed, authorities suggested that the separate killings in Monterrey are indeed related. “At both crime scenes,” reports the Washington Post, “police found posters with messages signed by the New Generation [Nuevo Generación] drug gang, an ally of Mexico’s most-wanted drug lord, Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán.” El Chapo is the leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, which is a rival of the notoriously brutal Zetas organization. Members of the State Attorney General’s Office (Procuraduría General de la Justicia del Estado, PGJE) arrived at the scenes in Monterrey to protect and gather evidence.
Although the incidences occurred not 24-hours apart, the five taxi drivers killed in Guerrero have not yet been connected to the murders in Nuevo León. While authorities are still investigating both events, three people were detained in Acapulco for the Guerrero killings. The Washington Post reports that one former cab driver is being investigated in Nuevo León after it was discovered that he had threatened some of his fellow cab drivers recently when he was fired for selling drugs.
The murder of the 13 drivers in the two states occurred during a violent week in Mexico that saw “ejecuciones,” or drug related killings, across the country. 13 men were killed in Michoacán on April 10, while three bodies were found in Coahuila, three women were murdered in Veracruz–two of which were minors and showed signs of torture–, and four cadavers were found in Sinaloa–one body shot to death, one mutilated, and the remains of two others. All of the killings were tied to drug-related violence or are at least in the process of being investigated for connections to organized crime.