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Massacre of entire family underlines out of control violence in Mexico

July 11, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Massacre of entire family underlines out of control violence in Mexico

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In Mexico, the bullet-riddled bodies of four children were discovered on a bloody floor, nestled next to the remains of their parents in a rented shack in the Gulf State of Veracruz.

Authorities allege the family of six was executed last month in the town of Coatzacoalcos because the Los Zetas drug cartel believed that the father, who was an unemployed cab driver, had played some role in a rival gang’s assault that killed a Zetas member, El Nuevo Herald reported.

The family’s horrific slaughter capped off a day of terror, which saw a wave of murders throughout the state that also included the execution of three police officers in the city of Cardel.

The response emphasizes the no-holds-barred behavior of drug cartels that are splintering and fighting one another for control of a majority of Mexico, which recently reported its highest monthly murder rate in at least two decades.

Although President Enrique Pena Nieto’s vowed to make Mexico a safer country when he assumed office five years ago, the violence is surpassing even the bloodiest days of the drug war driven by his predecessor.

Blurred images of the murdered family In Veracruz last month

“It has taken on the proportions of a ring of hell that would be described in Dante’s Inferno,” Mike Vigil, the former chief of international operations for the U.S. DEA and author of the book “Deal,” stated.

“Their strategy was going after the kingpin. … That was not the way to go because you cut off a head and others take its place,” Vigil continued. “You have weak institutions, the weak rule of law and judiciary, corruption, particularly within the state and municipal police, and all of that contributes to escalating violence.”

In the half of 2017, there were 9,916 murders across the nation — an increase of roughly 30% over the 7,638 executed during the same period in 2016. In 2011, the most violent year of the drug war, the number for January-May period was 9,466.

In some areas, the violence has increased with the rise of the Jalisco New Generation cartel and the downfall of the once-powerful Sinaloa cartel into contending factions after the arrest of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, who was extradited to the U.S. in January.

Thousands of mourners gathered for the funeral of the slain family

At least 19 individuals were killed in turf battles pitting Guzman’s son, brother and former associates against each other last month in Sinaloa.

In the border state of Chihuahua, firefights between Sinaloa gunmen and La Linea killed at least 26 people last week.

In the Gulf Coast city of Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz Governor Miguel Angel Yunes said the killing of a leading gunman in June caused the Zetas to murder the entire Martinez family: Clemente; his wife Martimana; Jocelin, 10; Victor Daniel, 8; Angel, 6; and Nahomi, 5.

All were killed in the home where they cleaned cars for $1 each.

“They didn’t have anything, not furniture. They slept on the floor,” Flora Martinez, their grandmother, said as she sobbed. “I don’t understand why they did this, why they did this to my little ones.”

For years it was believed that the Zetas were untouchable in this state.

However, 2016’s election of Yunes, the first candidate to win the governorship away from the long-ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, may have severed old alliances between criminals and corrupt authorities.

The new governor has shown some readiness to go after the Zetas: The local leader who reportedly ordered the Martinez murders, also known as “Comandante H,” was taken into custody a few days later.

Yunes added that the man had “operated with freedom in Coatzacoalcos since 2006” and accused officials in the city of acting as fronts for properties that belonged to the gangster.

Pictured: The reputed leader of Los Zetas who ordered the massacre of the Martinez family

Raul Ojeda Banda, an anti-crime activist, said that some were obliged to go along with the plot: “Some were pressured, threatened.”

Violence in the city has also been heightened by Jalisco cartel attacks and other pressures that have threatened key sources of income for the Los Zetas.

Part of “Comandante H’s” business plan involved large-scale abductions for quick ransom, with targets varying from locals to oil workers to Central American immigrants whom gang members tortured to force payments from family members in the U.S.

However, the Zetas kidnapped so many locals that those who were able ended up moving out of the area, and those who stayed began blocking off their neighborhoods at night to keep cartel members out.

An oil industry drop in the midst of low crude prices resulted in fewer energy workers in the area to prey on. Additionally, there have been fewer migrants as well. Trump’s election dissuaded some from trying to travel to the U.S., and others avoided southern Veracruz out of fear of being kidnapped.

The surge of violence in Mexico has also impacted regions that were long known as peaceful.

The Jalisco cartel is believed to have partnered with a faction of the Sinaloa cartel in a war for the Baja California Sur state cities of Los Cabos and the adjacent port of La Paz.

Dismembered remains, severed heads and clandestine graves have now become routine in the once-tranquil resorts.

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