05/10/12- Jalisco State Police Forces discovered two abandoned vans containing 18 dismembered bodies on the side of a highway just outside the city of Guadalajara, officials said Wednesday, May 9. The highway connects Guadalajara, Mexico’s second largest city, to the lakeside region of Chapala, an area frequented by tourists with a populous community of retired U.S. citizens.
The bodies were so severely mutilated that one police officer admitted he could not determine whether the corpses were male or female. Authorities discovered a note at the scene that was signed by Los Zetas, one of the most violent drug trafficking organizations in Mexico. A woman claiming to be a member of the street gang Milenio was arrested in connection with the incident yesterday. While in custody, she admitted to authorities that the recent killings outside of Guadalajara were “the repercussion for what happened in Tamaulipas,” referring to the 23 bodies that were found hung or beheaded in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas last Friday. (Read more about the Tamaulipas incident here).
Guadalajara has historically had a reputation for tranquility, but in recent months flares of violence have called this stability into question. In March, for example, the arrest of “El 85,” one of the alleged leaders of the Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generación (Jalisco New Generation Cartel), caused his supporters to demonstrate using “narcobloqueos,” or road blocks that consisted of 25 burning vehicles meant to impede traffic. (Read more about this incident here). Sources suggest that the increase in violence is the result of Los Zetas’ attempts to encroach on turf originally controlled by other drug trafficking organizations, namely the Sinaloa Cartel. It appears that both cartels are engaged in a back and forth battle for control of territory, and both organizations are notorious for the violent methods they employ in such situations.