In Mexico's drug war, grisly killings continue

Daniel Hernandez / Los Angeles Times

MEXICO CITY — Fourteen bodies were found in a truck Thursday in the state of San Luis Potosi, at least 17 people have been killed since Sunday in the port of Acapulco and 12 others were reported killed in 24 hours in metropolitan Mexico City.

The string of bloody reports grabbed headlines in Mexico, reminding the public that drug-related violence continues unabated as the six-year mark approaches in the federal government’s declared war on drug cartels.

The bodies Thursday were found in a truck left near a gasoline station on the highway between the city of San Luis Potosi and Zacatecas state. Authorities said in initial statements that all the victims were male and had come from the neighboring border state of Coahuila.

Body dumps along highways are a fixture of the conflict between Mexico’s most powerful drug cartels, Sinaloa and the Zetas. San Luis Potosi, however, until recently had not seen the same level of violence as other parts of the country.

In Acapulco, where smaller rival drug-trafficking groups are still locked in a struggle for control, the victims of an attack on a family included a pregnant woman and a 3-year-old boy. They were killed along with a man and two other women in an early Wednesday morning attack on a “humble house” in a low-income neighborhood, the newspaper El Sol de Acapulco said. At least 12 others have been killed in Acapulco since Sunday.

In Mexico City, seen as a relative haven from the drug-related violence that besets many other regions of the country, 12 people were killed in the metropolitan zone between Tuesday and Wednesday.

With a population of 20 million spread over the Valley of Mexico, the capital’s enormous size often means multiple violent attacks can have little effect on daily life, yet the drug war has not been absent from the urban zone.

Scores have been killed in Mexico City and the neighboring state of Mexico since the government’s offensive against cartels began in December 2006, official figures show.

The federal government’s drug-war death toll remains tallied only until September 2011, at 47,515. Peace activists and some independent analysts say the death toll is now surpassing 60,000, with at least 10,000 missing.

Other grim stories were circulating in Mexico on Thursday. Four women were found tortured and strangled to death in the northern city of Torreon.

In the western state of Sinaloa, armed men killed seven ranchers Wednesday.