Blog dedicated to reporting on Mexican drug cartels
on the border line between the US and Mexico

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Death Toll in Mexico Massacre Rises to 18

A woman wounded in the attack over the weekend on people attending a birthday party in the northern Mexican state of Coahuila has died, raising the death toll in the incident to 18, officials said Monday.

All 18 victims of the massacre in the city of Torreon have been identified, spokesmen for the state Attorney General’s Office said.

“Four of the dead were members of the Banda Rios, which provided the music for the birthday of one of the victims,” the AG’s office spokesmen said.

Twelve men and five women were pronounced dead at the scene at the Italia Inn restaurant, where police found 166 bullet casings.

Of the 18 wounded, one has died and six others were released from the hospital on Monday.

Some relatives of the victims suspended the wakes because they received threats, media outlets in Torreon reported.

Coahuila is one of the states that has been affected by the war between Los Zetas, a band of Mexican special forces deserters turned hired guns, and the Gulf drug cartel.

After several years as the armed wing of the Gulf cartel, Los Zetas went into the drug business on their own account and now control several lucrative territories.

Officials in the northern state of Nuevo Leon, meanwhile, said Monday that a man was killed in a gunbattle and three police officers were wounded in a grenade attack in the industrial metropolis of Monterrey.

Several of the main avenues in Monterrey, the state capital, were blocked with stolen city buses and trucks, a tactic often employed by organized crime groups to create chaos and prevent the army and police from responding quickly to incidents.

The first attack occurred Sunday night, when unidentified individuals riding in two vehicles went to the police station in the suburb of Guadalupe and threw a grenade at the building, a spokesman for Nuevo Leon’s AEI investigations agency said.

Three police officers were wounded by shrapnel, which also damaged the station and several parked patrol cars, the spokesman said.

A group of gunmen traveling in four SUVs engaged the occupants of another vehicle in a gunfight around 4:30 a.m. Monday in Brisas, a neighborhood in the southern section of Monterrey.

The body of an unidentified man who was approximately 30 years old was found a short distance away next to an abandoned vehicle that had bullet holes.

Gunmen fired with assault rifles at a building for nearly an hour in the same area, throwing three grenades, one of which failed to explode.

Greater Monterrey is one of the areas that the Gulf cartel and Los Zetas are fighting over.

The gang war has left more than 200 people dead this year in Nuevo Leon.

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