Morelia, the beautiful colonial state capitol of Michoacan, was the scene of intense security as the under-17 FIFA World Cup Group tournament began this Saturday, with a Mexican 3-1 victory over North Korea with President Calderon attending.
Morelia, one of seven cities hosting group tournaments in Mexco, is the site for Group A play between the national teams of Mexico, the Netherlands, Congo and North Korea.
The sports spectacle is playing out in an atmosphere of insecurity with the threats of violence announced by los Caballeros Templarios in Friday morning’s narcobanners becoming a reality.
Early Saturday morning, hours before the inaugural game, the bodies of nine execution victims were discovered in three separate locations in the coastal municipality of Lazaro Cardenas. Three victims were found in each location.
All nine victims were bound and blindfolded, showed signs of torture and were killed by gunshot wounds to the head. Some of the victims had messages staked to their bodies and signed by los Caballeros Templarios that read “this will happen to everyone that supports El Chango”.
One of the victims with a message was reportedly found alive but died of his injuries in an unnamed hospital.
Saturday evening Patzcuaro was the scene of a shootout between gunmen and Federal Police that left at least eight vehicles burning in blockades and mayhem as public transport passengers and motorists were robbed and attacked, although no fatalities were reported.
Federal Police reported the capture of eight criminals in the Patzcuaro area and the seizure of several weapons. According to Federal Police the incidents began when a police convoy ran into a convoy of gunmen on the Patzcuaro-Tzurumutaro turnoff.
Fourteen execution victims were reported Sunday morning in the Cuenca Lerma-Chapala region of Michoacan.
Four bodies executed with a gunshots to the head were found in the early morning hours of Sunday in the municipality of Sahuayo.
A message signed by los Caballeros Templarios-Guardia Michoacan was left at the site that said the men were executed for “supporting Chango Mendez and Los Zetas” and that “all thieves, extorionists and rapists will be next”.
At 7:30 in the morning two more execution victims were discovered in the municipality of Cojumatlan de Regules and two others were reported in the municipality if Jiquilpan.
The municipalities of Villamar and Brisenas reported one execution each. Like the victims in Sahuayo, all these victims were executed with a gunshot to the head.
Late Sunday morning four more execution victims were reported in the municipality of Tanhuato. These victims were left with messages signed by Los Caballeros Templarios-Guardia Michoacan identifying them as extortionists, thieves and rapists.
Back in the state capitol of Morelia the Congo selection defeated the Netherlands Saturday evening. When the players and coaching staff of both teams arrived at the Hotel Fiesta Inn after the competition, they reported that several of the rooms assigned to both teams had been burglarized and money and personal effects were taken.
Mexico City, Monterrey, Torreon, Guadalajara, Queretaro and Pachuca are the other cities hosting Group tournament play in the 2011 Under 17 World Cup.