MEXICO CITY — In the grim reckoning of horrors in Mexico’s drug war, the massacres of San Fernando are among the most haunting. The victims were dozens of migrants hauled from buses and trucks heading north and killed, their bodies left on an abandoned ranch and stuffed into mass graves.
This weekend, the authorities announced that they had caught the man they accuse of planning the carnage.
Navy forces cornered the suspect, Salvador Alfonso Martinez Escobedo, in the border city of Nuevo Laredo over the weekend, and on Monday presented him to the news media. According to the navy, Martinez, 31, is the leader of the Zetas drug gang in three border states.
Known as “the Squirrel," Martinez is also believed to be behind the killing of a U.S. citizen, David Hartley, who was shot in September 2010 while jet-skiing on a reservoir on Mexico’s border with Texas, and the beheading of the police chief investigating that shooting.
As the Zetas lieutenant in charge of the northeastern state of Tamaulipas in 2010, Martinez ordered the killings of 72 Central and South American migrants whose bodies were found in the rural municipality of San Fernando that August, the navy said.