Mexico: 35 bodies in Veracruz, in presumed drug cartel mass killing

Police and members of a forensic team stand around bodies on a motorway in Boca del Rio, on the outskirts of Veracruz September 20, 2011. The bodies of 35 people with suspected links to organized crime were found in two abandoned trucks on a highway underpass in the eastern Mexican city of Veracruz on Tuesday, the local prosecutor said. (REUTERS/Stringer)

@BlogsOfWar put it best tonight: "The violence in Mexico rivals or exceeds that seen in of most of the global hotspots we're obsessed with."

Read more: Blog del Narco (Spanish), Associated Press (English).



  1. As horrible as it is, I’d rather they killed each other than the 2 innocent people who were skinned and murdered as a warning to those trying to end the violence. 

    1. “they” “each other”.

      Do you have insider knowledge of the crimes committed by the victims? Do we not all bleed red?

      1. It wasn’t Robin that insinuated that these 35 were cartel lackeys.  That was all you.  And anyway, FTFA: “The bodies of 35 people with suspected links to organized crime”

        1. These were people. Like you, I, and Robin. The article and Robin each insinuated their guilt,

          but only Robin insinuated “they” had it coming. And only you covered him for saying it. 

          1. Her, darling.  Speaking of insinuating things.  I didn’t say they had it coming.  In fact, I referred to it as horrible.  But it is less horrible than people who were doing the right thing by trying to end the violence being skinned. 

      2. Police had identified seven of the victims so far and all had criminal
        records for murder, drug dealing, kidnapping and extortion and were
        linked to organized crime, Escobar said. He didn’t say to what group the
        victims belonged.

  2. Holy crap. So… what’s the over/under on how long until we end up invading Mexico to “allow Democracy to blossom”?

  3. For years now, shot, mutilated and decapitated bodies of drug cartel grunts have popped up daily in Anytown, Mexico.  In some cases, even half-dissolved in vats filled with heavy-duty plumbing cleaner… and they just keep on coming and coming and coming… why?

    Bloggingheads recently had a great discussion with the title “The Creation Of Terrorists”, and a segment titled “How does a nice young man become a jihadist?”, right here:

    While Robert Wright and Scott Atran were at it, it seemed to me (pure speculation on my part) one could juxtapose topics and receive some pretty intriguing insights into possible dynamics of recruitment into drug cartels:

    Young people in transitional periods of their lives, going into it at the mutual prodding of one or more friends, all together, into the promised land of nihilistic Scarface glamour, and just maybe, someday somebody will write a corrido in your honor, little narco.
    And they’re always hiring!  Lots of turnover in that industry.

      1. Buy less drugs? You try explaining this strategy to the vegetarian college student who protests blood diamonds and Israeli occupation by day, but parties hard at the club at the four nights a week.

  4. Somebody put my mind at ease. I’m planning on moving to Guadalajara for a few months in November. It’s not really that bad is it?

    1. The odds of anything happening to you in Guadalajara are about the same as getting hit by lightning.  You’ll be perfectly alright.
      As a side note, Guadalajara was a hot spot for flashes of narco violence back in the late 80s – early 90s, but right now the hot spots are Monterrey and Culiacán (permanent hot spot, to be sure). A year or two ago it was Tijuana, but things have calmed down there (relatively speaking).

    2. If anything, what’s really “that bad” in Guadalajara now is the traffic!  The city has grown massively outwards in the last 15 years and infrastructure has been unable to keep pace.

      However, a lot of mom and pop restaurants and street stands have spectacular food on the cheap.  Careful with the “tortas ahogadas”, ask to have them drowned in the tomato sauce only, not the hot sauce, you can add spoonfuls as you build up tolerance to “unlock achievement” ;-)

      1. If you all are wondering why they went from 62 to 2800+ in a year, “In 2007, the Bush administration and its Mexican counterpart signed the
        Merida Initiative, a three-year $1.5 billion plan to fight the narcotics

        So ignoring the problem isn’t what lead to the violence.

    3. I live in Monterrey, one of the cities that has been in the news the most lately. Its bad, but you can have a semi-normal life and pretty much avoid what is happening. Remember that the drug cartels are disputing their territory and killing each other off, so the key is to avoid shady places (casinos, gentlemens clubs, bad neighborhoods, etc.) and live discretely, which means not having a flashy car (or one that might be attractive for the cartels as a vehicle of war) and take all the precautions you would living in a big city. If I where moving to Guadalajara I would try to live in Zapopan or relatively close by to the office (traffic can be complicated). Pretty soon you will be enjoying going to the beach, chapala and a bunch of other incredibly interesting places. You will love it here.

    4. If you are not involved in the drug trade, arms smuggling, human trafficking, or fighting them, then you are not very likely to be murdered.

      If you run a quasi-legitimate business (pirate dvds etc) you will probably need to pay off the local cartel. If you run a legitimate business you might be asked to provide “protection money”, though this is most common in Juarez. If you don’t pay you’ll more likely be beaten or burned out than murdered.

      Don’t drive a fancy new SUV or pickup. Don’t drive at night except maybe across the city. Don’t flash around enough money to make it look like you can pay a ransom. Don’t have dealings with the criminal underworld (buying dope, seeing hookers, etc)

      There is some risk everywhere, but if you follow the above then Mexico is probably safer for you than most US cities.

    5. No, I live in Xalapa, (45 mins from Veracruz, where the bodies were dumped). Just have common sense and you’ll be fine. (Like, don’t go to shady places, or night clubs, or casinos… yeah…) 

    6. It’s a matter of common sense if you love your life you will avoid drugs and “wrong” places (trendy, bad-taste places) for sure. Mexico’s cities are not uglier than Compton, Detroit, Brooklyn, New Mexico, Modesto or some other terrible neighborhoods in the US, you won’t find that in Mexico, however you could have a bad luck and have an “undesired” friend or being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Remember, new is a business and they expand the news to your eyes (and other’s eyes) so you can even feel the blood on your skin, so avoid watching the negatively-biased news.

    1. I’m not sure legalizing coke will solve the problem.

      Legalizing weed might lessen it somewhat…

      However there is a difference between stopping the “War on Drugs” and actual Legalization.

      Mostly I see this as an economic problem, not a crime and punishment problem. Solve the economic of it, and it will go away, or at least not be a big deal.

  5. Why are we spending so much time and effort fighting the “drug war” in Afghanistan and Pakistan, when our next door neighbor is rapidly becoming a narco-state? If the same was going on in Canada, we’d probably have a battalion of Marines in every big city there, but as far as I can tell, we’re pretty much ignoring Mexico’s implosion.

    1. What are you talking about? We are giving BILLIONS to Mexico, arms and equipment, and sending people down there to train their LEOs and military. This is on top of the DEA and ATF collaborations. Ignoring is not the word I would use.

      1. While simultaneously arming some of the cartels and allowing them to freely transport their product in our nation, in exchange for “information”.

        Our leaders are playing both sides of this for our own political ends.

    2. Actually in Afghanistan we protect the opium trade, which is up massively since our invasion.
      This has become a big problem for Russia, which is the number one consumer of the surplus narcotics.

  6. Been to GDL a number of times. Road-warrior traffic and the air always smells of burnt things. Imagine an American city if the DMV and EPA did not exist.

  7. @ryan – The vast majority of US MJ consumption is now domestically based, not imported.  Cocaine is the huge issue with Mexico, followed by opiates & if I recall correctly, meth & it’s precursors, which showed a big jump in imports once the US started cracking down on availability of psuedoephedrine.

  8. It’s unclear whether this situation is reversible. In simple terms, you have a bunch of people who like expensive things (houses, boats, cars, prestige) and have found that they can get them through crime. You have a much larger group of people (mostly young men) whose only real economic opportunity is to work for the first group in some capacity, such as footsoldiers.

    If you legalize drugs in the US, you reduce or eliminate the profitability of their current main activity, but the narcos are unlikely to just shrug, say “It was good while it lasted”, and settle down to live modest lives. They’ll find new ways to earn money, using the tools they have available – i.e. a standing army of disposable hitmen. That probably means an increasing shift into, among other things, extortion and kidnapping. Then you get a double whammy. To stop people signing up with the narcos, what you need are successful businesses that offer decently-paid jobs, but any business that shows signs of success is going to be a target for extortion, which may eventually cause the business to fail.

    For Mexico to escape the cycle of violence, it needs a flourishing economy. But an economy can’t flourish when organized crime is sucking the life out of it.

    Incidentally, if legalizing drugs in the US knocks out the main profit center for the narcos, violence will increase as the crime families fight amongst themselves over the remaining sources of income. And if they can’t make money in Mexico, they’ll look for opportunities abroad, particularly in their wealthy neighbor to the north.

    1. They’ll find new ways to earn money, using the tools they have available – i.e. a standing army of disposable hitmen…  violence will increase as the crime families fight amongst themselves over the remaining sources of income.
      True or False:  This is exactly what happened after the repeal of Prohibition in 1933.

      1. Valid point. Of course, one consequence of the repeal of Prohibition was that law enforcement started looking for other ways to earn money (or at least maintain their staff and budgets), and the ultimate result was the War on (Some) Drugs.

        So maybe it’s not unemployed narcos looking for new avenues of work that we should be worrying about …

  9. It’s a hard question, no doubt. Does Mexico society believe that the illusion of normalcy and safety is so important that the drug gangs should not be able to commandeer the public sphere (in broad daylight) in order to strike fear into their enemies? At some point, the “right” to life is going to conflict with the Zeta’s right of self expression and free speech. Where do you draw the line?

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