In what has been the bloodiest day in recent memory 13 people including 9 police officers were executed by unknown gunmen in Monterrey on Wednesday, June 16.
The city has seen an upsurge in violence and murders associated with organized criminal groups since the detention of the Zeta cartel leader for the state of Nuevo Leon, Hector Raul Luna Luna “el Tory” last week.
The murders occurred in the cities of Apodaca, Guadalupe and Santiago which make up part of the Monterrey metropolitan area and within Monterrey itself.
The tortured and mutilated bodies of five Apodaca police officers , two of them women, were found in a vacant lot Wednesday morning by passing motorists.
In a sign of the increasing brutality practiced by criminal gangs some of the victims had been disemboweled and one was decapitated. Three of the victims had “narco-messages” addressed to a rival criminal group nailed to their bodies with ice picks.
Some of the bodies were placed to form the letter Z which is a signature used by the Zeta drug cartel to claim responsibility for the action.
All five officers had been abducted from their homes the previous night. Two of the officers, Juan Roberto Escobedo Lopez and Dulce Maria Esperanza Lira Torres, both supervisors, were a common law couple.
On Wednesday the couple’s two sons were also abducted according to family members. Their fate remains unknown.
At approximately 1:00 PM three unidentified youths were shot and killed in the Primero de Mayo neighborhood in the city of Monterrey by a group of gunmen shooting from an identified vehicle.
According to neighbors the youths were associated with a “narcotienda”, a location where illegal drug sales occur.
On Wednesday afternoon two Santiago municipal policemen were murdered while patrolling on National Highway 85.
According to witnesses they were intercepted by a group of gunmen in various vehicles and were hit by gunfire from automatic weapons. The police unit ended up in a creek after losing control.
In the last 3 months a total of eight Santiago municipal policemen have been assassinated by organized criminal groups.
Wednesday night the bodies of three men, two of them Guadalupe municipal police officers, were found executed outside of an industrial park in the neighboring city of Apodaca,
The two officers were abducted Wednesday afternoon immediately after finishing their shift. The third man was a known drug dealer who may have been under the protection of the two policemen.
In a news conference Thursday the Nuevo Leon state prosecutor Alejandro Garza y Garza “washed his hands” of Wednesday’s killings.
Stating that the incidents were a result of an “ajuste de cuentas” (settling of scores or revenge hits) between 2 rival cartels currently at war, Garza y Garza stated authorities were unable to prevent them and are only able to investigate after the fact. No arrests are anticipated at this time.
The state prosecutor said the investigation would be based on the assumption that all the victims of Wednesday’s executions were involved in drug trafficking and connected to one cartel or the other.
The Zeta cartel and its rival the Gulf cartel and its allies have been at war for control of the “plaza” or drug trafficking corridors in northeast Mexico including the state of Nuevo Leon.