They declined to be a part of the Zetas, and 72 were shot
Thursday 26 August 2010
Several vehicles, according to the only survivor of what is the worst massacre on the part of organized crime, blocked the path of the vehicle in which the victims traveled and made them descend. The blockers warned the passengers that they were The Zetas.
The 72 undocumented people murdered in San Fernando, Tamaulipas, were aboard a truck headed for the United States when, last Saturday or Sunday, they were intercepted by the Zeta convoy.
Several vehicles, according to the story of the only survivor of what is - until now - the worst massacre in the wave of violence on the part of organized crime, blocked the vehicle in which the victims were riding and made them get out. They warned the travellers that they were The Zetas.
One by one, the 58 men and 14 women, among them minors, were placed against the wall inside of a storage building, first investigations reveal. Then they were ordered to keep their heads down and were shot with volleys from high-power weapons. At the end, the killers gave each victim a coup de grace.
Among the shot was a citizen of Ecuador, who played dead. The final shot entered, apparently, on the edge of the neck and exited through the jaw. He waited, lying there, until the killers left and he was able to escape. He ws the only survivor. Until now it remains a mystery how he was able to go the 22 kilometers that separate the site from where he made contact with personnel from the Mexican Navy from which he sought help.
Asking for help, Luis managed to say that "the killing was not long ago." He said the miscreants offered them work as hitmen, and that they would earn US$1000 every two weeks. All of the passengers resisted, and with the rejection came the massacre.
At first, the marines did not believe him, since on other occasions they have been ambushed with lies.
It was close to seven in the morning of Monday when the marines had contact with him (Luis) who babbled that there were more than 70 dead at a ranch, but the marines were reluctant to believe him. The head of the unit informed his superiors and it was decided to make an aerial recon of the area, and when flying over they were attacked, from which they deduced indications that the survivor's story was true.
As night fell on Monday, the marines had to redeploy towards Matamoros in the face of the possibility of an ambush by the criminal group The Zetas. Tuesday morning, with more manpower and equipment they arrived at the ranch and discovered the 72 bodies inside an abandoned grain store. They were tied up and blindfolded.
The remoteness of the ranch and the insecurity of the area caused a delay until almost midnight on Tuesday before complete information about the massacre was available. Another 70 marines in vehicles with protection and weapons to confront the delinquents deployed to the ranch where a confrontation ensued in which a marine and three criminals died. During this action a minor from Veracruz, who had particpated in the killings, was captured.
The survivor commented that among the victims were people from Brazil, Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. In the report about the victims it says that one of the 14 women was in the late stages of pregnancy. The majority of the victims were young people in their productive age.
One hypothesis about the massacre is that the assassins, presumably The Zetas, want to send a message of fear to those who would resist working for them or under their orders, especially illegals crossing towards the United States.
The captured minor, according to initial reports, is very well trained about not revealing information about what he was involved in. His first comments were made only to personnel from the national prosecutor's office which took charge of the case as of late night on Tuesday.
(With information from correspondents)
Update: The Guardian has a piece about this incident.