In the latest disturbing sign of Mexico’s ongoing gang problems, masked gunmen dumped 35 dead bodies under a busy overpass in downtown Boca del Rio on Tuesday afternoon.
The Los Angeles Times reports that all 35 of the deceased have suspected ties to organized crime, according to local police. Seven so far have been identified, all of whom had criminal records, including for murder, drug dealing, kidnapping, and extortion.
The scene on the street, as one would expect, was rather intense: Gunmen reportedly stood guard pointing their weapons at frightened rush-hour motorists as their cohorts dumped the bodies near a major shopping center. Al Jazeera reports that the pile included several body parts and many of the corpses showed the marks of torture.
Although the masked men have yet to be identified, USA Today notes that the state of Veracruz, where the bodies were dumped, is an important route for drugs and Central American migrants heading north. For years the Zetas drug cartel has warred with rival factions for control of the state.
According to government figures, drug violence has claimed more than 35,000 lives since President Felipe Calderon announced his national war against drug cartels following his 2006 inauguration. Other reports suggest the death toll is as high as 42,000.