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Mexican massacre victims identified

The Americas Post - Twenty-six bodies are apparently more than one truckload

Jalisco state prosecutors have identified a baker, truck driver, soft-drink vendor and dental technician among the 26 cadavers found bound and gagged in the center of Guadalajara.

The names of both the Zetas and Millenium drug cartels were written in motor oil on the victims’ bodies.  Authorities see that as possibly meaning that those two allied gangs plan to seize a city historically controlled by the powerful Sinaloa cartel.

After years of violent struggle, the Zetas and Sinaloa have emerged as the largest cartels in the nation, competing to control smuggling and other businesses worth billions of dollars a year.  Both are known to form alliances with smaller local gangs.

Other analysts speculated that the killings in Guadalajara may also have been retaliation for the dozens murdered in September in the Gulf coast city of Veracruz.  Some authorities blamed that killing on the New Generation, a gang believed to be working with the Sinaloa cartel.  A video posted by men claiming to be the Veracruz killers said that the victims were Zetas.

The names of 14 of the men slain in Guadalajara were announced Friday by Jalisco state prosecutor Tomas Coronado, who said that only two had criminal records.  They included Alejandro Robles Vidal, 22, who had been working as a dental technician in the nearby city of Zapopan for three years and disappeared Monday evening, as well as Jose Antonia Parga Guareno, 23, a cargo-truck driver who disappeared Tuesday.

The prosecutor warned the press and public not to assume the victims were guilty of drug cartel activity, saying that would be investigated.  He said they died of strangulation or blows to the head.

The second-largest city in Mexico, Guadalajara is on the main highway running from the methamphetamine-producing state of Michoacan north to the Pacific Coast state of Sinaloa, where the cartel of the same name is based.  Security officials and analysts have recently worried that Guadalajara could become a target for the Zetas, who have expanded since breaking with the Gulf cartel in 2010.

On Wednesday, another 17 bodies were found burned in two pickup trucks in a strikingly similar attack in Sinaloa. Twelve were in the back of one truck, some of them handcuffed and wearing bulletproof vests.

Coronado said he is coordinating with authorities there to determine if the deaths are related.