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Drug gang threatens Mexican bloggers

"This is what happens to internet snitches"

This week the Mexican Zetas drug cartel sent a clear message to websites that report on the drug war, in a note with two mutilated corpses hung from an overpass near the U.S. border.

Officials at the state prosecutor’s office said a sign warning bloggers to stay quiet was found next to the disemboweled bodies of a man and a woman hanging from a pedestrian bridge in the city of Nuevo Laredo.

“Watch out, I’ve got my eye on you,” the placard said.  It warned that other internet troublemakers would meet a similar fate and was signed “Z,” a reference to the bloody Zetas drug gang active in the region.

The unidentified and badly mutilated victims were aged between 20 and 25,  said an official who declined to be named.

The threat specifically targeted two popular websites that cover the Mexico drug war: Blog del Narco and Frontera al Rojo Vivo.

The Rojo Vivo site, operated by border newspaper El Norte, announced that all archived material and contributor information has been cleared from the blog.

“From now on, we will only publish specific facts and information about border communities and not personal attacks,” stated a notice on the site Thursday.

Mexican drug traffickers often target local media to suppress coverage of their activities. During the last five years at least 42 local reporters have been killed, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Many newspapers and other media have already ceased to publish photos of murder victims or the calling cards that drug gangs use to threaten their rivals, the police or public.

Approximately 42,000 people have been killed in the wave of violence that has followed President Felipe Calderon’s decision to deploy the military against drug cartels in late 2006.