Ten more bodies have been found in the Mexican Gulf coast city of Veracruz, just a week after authorities found another 32 cadavers stashed in two homes, authorities said Saturday.
“The bodies of seven people” were located late Friday stacked in the back of a pickup truck, a state government communique said Saturday. Hours later, it said, three more bodies were found tossed in the street of a nearby neighborhood.
Veracruz, on the steamy Gulf of Mexico coast, has been thrust into the spotlight in just a matter of weeks as yet another city gripped by the bloodshed of Mexico’s drug cartel wars.
On Thursday, 32 bodies were found in two homes in the Boca del Rio neighborhood. That staggering find came two weeks after 35 bodies were found September 20 on a busy public underpass in the city.
Authorities on Friday detained eight members of the “Zeta Killers” gang blamed for at least 67 recent killings in Veracruz.
Officials said those detained also belonged to the ‘New Generation’ drug gang, which is believed to be linked to rivals of the Zetas, including Mexico’s powerful Sinaloa drug cartel led by billionaire fugitive Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman.
Set up in the 1990s by ex-elite soldiers turned hired killers for the Gulf gang, the Zetas have been blamed for an upsurge in violence this year in Veracruz, including the killings of three marines.
The death toll in Mexico’s drug wars for the first nine months of this year alone hit 10,000, a tally by the newspaper Reforma found. The deadliest states were Chihuahua, Nuevo Leon, Guerrero and Sinaloa, it found.
Some 41,000 people have been killed since Mexico launched a major crackdown in 2006 against powerful drug gangs which are themselves locked in brutal turf wars over lucrative trade routes from Central America to the United States.