Mexico Arrests 8 ‘Gulf Cartel Members’ over Nuevo Leon Massacre

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The Mexican military has detained eight alleged members of the Gulf Cartel in connection with the dumping of 49 mutilated corpses in Nuevo Leon, a massacre which the Gulf apparently tried to blame on rival group the Zetas.

Officials from the Mexican Defense Department (Sedena) announced Thursday that the men were captured in the Nuevo Leon municipality of China by a military unit acting on a tip that Gulf Cartel operatives were in the area. The soldiers seized a kilo of white powder (likely cocaine), four rifles, a handgun, ammunition, and three hand grenades, as well as tactical and communications equipment.

The men are suspected of involvement in the recent dump of 49 dismembered bodies along a highway in the northern border state, and sources consulted by Milenio claim that the suspects may be able to lead investigators to where they disposed of the victims’ heads, hands and feet.

State authorities are investigating the authenticity of a YouTube video depicting the unloading of the bodies from a truck, which was accompanied by a warning in the name of the Zetas.

InSight Crime Analysis

The fact that the authorities suspect the Gulf Cartel of committing the massacre supports statements apparently released by Zetas, who Nuevo Leon state officials initially said were behind the violence. In response to these allegations, the group posted a series of banners, or “narcomantas,” in several states denying any part in the incident. They pointed out that a message left with the 49 bodies did not follow the group’s “house style” for referring to their rival. “[W]hen we hang banners we say ‘Las Golfas,’ and they say ‘Golfo,’” the banners stated.

The massacre was likely an attempt by the Gulf Cartel to “heat up the plaza,” a tactic used by drug traffickers, who commit acts of violence in another group’s area of influence in the hopes of sparking a law enforcement crackdown there.

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