Monday, January 9, 2012

13 found executed in Michoacán state; victims remain unidentified, unclaimed

The bodies of 10 adults and three minors, all males, were found about 5:00 a.m. today at a gas service station in the town of Zitácuaro in Mexico's southwestern Michoacán state. Police say a narcomensaje, or executioner's warning, was found near the victims, each of whom had been shot in the head. The bodies were partially clothed, bore signs of torture and were left piled on top of one another.

Authorities say it appears the victims were killed at another location at least 48 hours before their discovery and then were dumped at the station. They attribute the executions to a struggle for control of the plaza - in other words, a dispute between rival groups for domination of drug trafficking, extortion and similar criminal enterprises in the city. Officials say the groups are La Familia Michoacána and Los Caballeros Templarios.

Update Jan. 10: The state prosecutor in Michoacán today made photos of the 13 victims publicly available, in an effort to identify them. Twenty-four hours after the discovery of their bodies, no one has come forward in search of a missing loved one. This is common in mass organized crime executions, where many victims are never identified. It's also strong circumstantial evidence that the majority of the 50,000+ dead in Mexico's 61 month old drug war were themselves involved in crime. Apart from police, soldiers and security officials, most of the victims have been the bad guys, not civilians or innocent bystanders. That's why their remains are never claimed. When those opposed to Calderón's strategy talk about the huge death toll, they invariably ignore this inconvenient fact. Chief among them are those who filed war crimes accusations against Calderón last November, with the International Criminal Court in The Hague. And of course the Los Angeles Times, which just doesn't get it.

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