Crime and Violence

Violent Weekend in Mexico as 33 Bodies Discovered

Authorities search the scene in San Fernando, Tamaulipas, where seven bodies were found over the weekend. Photo: Redacción

09/18/12 – Mexico experienced a violent weekend as 33 bodies were found in a three day span in what appears to be three drug-related incidents. In the first discovery, nine corpses were found hanging from a bridge in Nuevo Laredo, a town in Tamaulipas across the border from Laredo, Texas, during the morning of Friday, September 14. La Crónica de Hoy reports that the nine victims, all of whom were men, appeared to have been tortured and murdered prior to being hung from the bridge. Before the bodies were discovered, it was reported that a group of armed individuals abducted several people from a bar in Nuevo Laredo and then proceeded to light the bar on fire. Although unconfirmed at this point, investigations are ongoing to see if events are related. It is unknown who is responsible for the murders, but Tamaulipas has experienced an excess of violence recently, as tensions have increased between the Zetas and the Gulf Cartel (Cártel del Golfo, CDG).

Later that Friday, authorities discovered seven mutilated male bodies in the municipality of San Fernando, Tamaulipas, on the side of a road connecting San Fernando and La Carbonera. According to the Attorney General of Tamaulipas (Procuraduría General de Justicia del Estado, PGJE), the corpses were found with gunshot wounds, evidence of torture, and many with tied hands. Authorities believe that the victims–all between the ages of 50 and 65–were killed only six hours before the bodies were found. They also noted that a message left with the bodies indicated that they were all members of the Zetas cartel. San Fernando has been the scene of violence before, as 72 bodies were found in the municipality in August, 2010. Since the most recent bodies were found, the Medical Examiner (Servicio Médico Forense) has taken over the case.

Lastly, while Mexicans were celebrating their Independence Day on September 16, Jalisco State Prosecutor Tomás Coronado Olmos reported that 17 bodies were found on a farm in the town of Tizapán el Alto in Jalisco.  The victims, whose identities have not been released, were males between the ages of 20 and 50, and the bodies were naked, mutilated, and tortured. It appeared possible that narco-mensajes, or narco-messages, were left as the corpses were found with silver tape in their eyes, and were chained together by either the neck, the wrists, or the ankles. Cartels often send rival groups messages through the way in which they kill their victims, indicating, for example, that a rival member heard or saw something he or she should not have and thus resulting in the loss of an ear or eye, respectively.  Members of the Jalisco Forensic Science Institute (Instituto Jalisciense de Ciencias Forenses, IJCF) took over the case and then delivered the bodies to the Medical Examiner in Guadalajara.

Although both Tamaulipas and Jalisco have seen decreases in violence since last year, Jalisco albeit small, each state has nevertheless seen its fair share of drug-related killings, or ejecuciones. As of September 14, Tamaulipas has 269 such killings while Jalisco registered 531, compared to 590 in Tamaulipas and 545 in Jalisco at the same time last year, according to Grupo Reforma. Experts believe the amount of violence in Tamaulipas–home to both the Zetas and the CDG, two organizations that have been rivals since their split in 2010–will continue to increase due to the recent captures of  CDG leaders Jorge Eduardo Costilla Sánchez, known as “El Coss,” and Mario Cárdenas Guillén, known as “El Gordo.” La Crónica de Hoy reports that the Zetas will view the loss of CDG leadership as an opportunity to claim territory that was previously controlled by the group.


Diaz, Lizbeth. “Mexico Drug Violence: Nine Corpses Found Hanging From Bridge.” Huffington Post. September 14, 2012.

“Ejecutómetro 2012.” Grupo Reforma. Accessed September 14, 2012.

“Encuentran nueve cadáveres colgados de un puente en Nuevo Laredo.” La Crónica de Hoy. September 14, 2012.

“Encuentran 7 cuerpos en San Fernando, Tamaulipas.” Milenio. September 14, 2012.

“7 Bodies dumped on road in northeastern Mexico.” Fox News Latino. September 15, 2012.

Associated Press. “17 mutilated bodies found on farm in central Mexico.” The Washington Post. September 16, 2012.

Zamarroni Martínez, Ulises. “Hallan 17 cuerpos en Jalisco.” El Universal. September 16, 2012.

Martínez, Jorge. “17 cuerpos en Tizapán, Jalisco asesinados con arma de fuego.” Milenio. September 17, 2012.

1 thought on “Violent Weekend in Mexico as 33 Bodies Discovered”

  1. Pingback: Mexican Navy Captures Z-50 of Los Zetas « Justice in Mexico

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