Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Mexico: Investigators say that they have a video that may hold clues to how unidentified men managed to drive two open-back trucks filled with 35 bodies through rush-hour traffic and then abandon them, blocking traffic and leaving bodies on the highway
Police in the east coast state of Veracruz found the abandoned trucks and the bodies near a shopping mall in the municipality of Boca del Rio. Photos of the scene showed the two trucks - with tall, open-slat sides, like for carrying produce or animals - with their back gates open, the bodies literally falling out onto the street. People on a nearby overpass looked down on shirtless bodies piled on top of each other. Drug violence is not unheard of in Veracruz, a Zetas cartel stronghold, but a killing of this magnitude shocked even the hardened Mexicans. At a university peace conference in Mexico City, an activist leader said that the bodies found in Veracruz are a reminder that Mexicans must not become desensitized to violence, even if authorities say the victims had criminal histories. The dead included 12 women and 23 men. The video may show that the two trucks were guarded by other cars that could have doubled as getaway vehicles, Veracruz Attorney General Reynaldo Escobar Perez said in a radio interview. He did not say where the video came from. Investigators also are looking into whether police colluded with the people who discarded the bodies. Currently, 95% of the bodies have been identified through databases, Escobar Perez said. Most of them had criminal records, he said. One of them was identified as a local policeman who disappeared about 15 days ago, he said. In another interview, the attorney general said that the victims died of suffocation. Only one had a bullet wound, he said. The state of the bodies led investigators to deduce that they died shortly before being abandoned, Escobar Perez said. Boca del Rio is in Veracruz state's most populated area. It has become a frequent site of clashes between armed groups as drug-related violence grows.