Mexico: Nine bodies found hanging from a bridge, at least 23 dead (UPDATE)


In a surge of drug-related violence, police reported finding nine bodies hanging from a bridge in the border town of Nuevo Laredo, Mexico on May 4, 2012.



The bodies of 23 people were found hanging from a bridge or dismembered in ice boxes and garbage bags in northeastern Mexico on Friday, BBC News reported

The bodies of four women and five men were initially found hanging from a bridge in the border city of Nuevo Laredo, according to AFP. Hours later, police found the dismembered corpses of 14 people in garbage bags and ice boxes dumped near the police station of Nuevo Laredo, police investigators told Reuters

An army official said the bodies hanging from the bridge were apparently a message from a drug gang and showed signs of beating and torture. He said, "we believe they are members of a criminal gang," according to AFP.

AFP noted that photographs showed the bodies strung up with their hands tied, with a large banner hanging nearby.

The message found with the bodies suggested that the brutal killings may have been launched by the Zetas cartel against its rival, the Gulf cartel, according to Reuters.

Police said the second massacre could have been an act of revenge by the Zetas' rival gang for the earlier killings, Reuters reported. 

More on GlobalPost: Mexico violence: Another two journalists found dead in Veracruz

According to Reuters, the Zetas cartel was founded by deserters from Mexican special forces who began as Gulf cartel enforcers. The city of Nuevo Laredo is right across the border from Laredo, Texas, and is the battleground in a feud between two of Mexico's biggest drugs gangs, jockeying for control of smuggling routes into the United States and often the cause of violence in the region. 

AFP noted that the Gulf cartel is now believed to be allied with the Sinaloa cartel, headed by billionaire fugitive Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman.

More on GlobalPost: Mexico: Sinaloa drug violence leaves 12 dead

Drug-related violence has cost the lives of more than 50,000 people since President Felipe Calderon launched a crackdown when he took office in 2006, said Reuters.

The past week has been especially violent with four Mexican journalists dying violent deaths. The bodies of Gabriel Huge, Guillermo Luna and Esteban Rodríguez, three photojournalists, were found in Veracruz, some of them wrapped in plastic and showing signs of torture, according to the Guardian.

More on GlobalPost: Regina Martinez, Mexican crime reporter, found dead in Veracruz