Three marines were kidnapped, tortured and murdered in separate incidents in the past week in apparent acts of revenge by criminal organizations, the Mexican Navy Secretariat said.
The first incident occurred last Friday in the eastern state of Veracruz, where a marine corporal was reported missing and found dead a day later near the Tuxpan River, the secretariat said.
“The body of a person belonging to the Marine Infantry” was also found on Friday in Playa de Vacas, a community in Veracruz, the secretariat said.
A third marine was found dead on Saturday in a community outside Mazatlan, a city in the northwestern state of Sinaloa, the secretariat said.
“We are dealing with the loss of three members of the Mexican Navy whose job was to take part in operations against drug trafficking and organized crime, so it is impossible not to link the incidents to revenge by criminal organizations, although it will be the appropriate authorities that will clear up the incidents in the end,” the secretariat said.
The navy has participated actively in the war on drugs, with marines involved in the December 2009 killing of drug lord Arturo Beltran Leyva.
Gunmen later murdered several relatives of marine Melquisedet Angulo Cordova, who died in the shootout in which Beltran Leyva was killed on Dec. 16, 2009, in Cuernavaca, the capital of Morelos state.
The gunmen, all suspected of being members of the Los Zetas drug cartel, killed Angulo Cordova’s mother, two brothers and aunt.
The marine’s relatives were murdered on Dec. 21, 2009, at the family’s home in Paraiso, Tabasco, just hours after their loved one was laid to rest with full military honors.
A total of 15,270 people died in drug-related violence in Mexico last year, and nearly 40,000 people have died since President Felipe Calderon declared war on the country’s cartels shortly after taking office in December 2006.
Calderon has deployed tens of thousands of soldiers and Federal Police officers across the country to combat drug cartels and other criminal organizations.
The anti-drug operation, however, has failed to put a dent in the violence due, according to experts, to drug cartels’ ability to buy off the police and even high-ranking officials.