On Sunday, May 13, 2012, 49 decapitated and further mutilated bodies were dumped along the highway near Monterrey, Mexico. The bodies also lacked hands and feet, and were primarily male. Above where the bodies, well torsos, laid in blood, there is a white arch welcoming people to the town of Cadereyta Jimenez (next to Monterrey). Over the white arch, “100% Zeta” was spray painted (The Assosciated Press, 2012). The Zetas are a violent Mexican gang known for drug-related violence. Officials think this graffiti symbolically denotes ownership of the murders.
Mexican Special Forces defectors founded the Zetas (The Assosciated Press, 2012). Originally, the Zetas worked as assassins for another drug cartel, but broke off that relationship in 2010 (Zabludovsky, 2012). The Zetas are known for having no well defined territory or smuggling routes, but being extremely well armed. As such, they are battling other gangs that have well established smuggling routes and territory, especially the Sinaloa (cocaine + routes + territory). Over the past six months, the fighting between the Sinaloa and the Zetas escalated marked by numerous smaller mass body dumpings. As the government’s anti-drug cartel initiatives break successful cartels into weaker ones, they often join or become allies with strong cartels, namely the Zetas or the Sinaloa (The Assosciated Press, 2012).
While there is some question about whether the victims were would-be migrants or related to the drug trade, a state security spokesman made it clear that it was “not an attack against the civil population” (Zabludovsky, 2012). Drug cartels have expanded their services to include human trafficking among other things, however regardless of who exactly the victims are, the statement is about territory for drug smuggling. According to Raul Benitez Manaut, an expert in national security at National Autonomous University, “This is the most definitive of all the cartel wars” (The Assosciated Press, 2012).
Since 2006 when President Calderon began his offensive against drug cartels, drug related deaths account for 27,500 people. While in reality, this has little to do with Calderon or the attack according to many experts (The Assosciated Press, 2012). Another estimate claims 50,000 lives lost of those involved with cartels and those in national troops (Zabludovsky, 2012).
The drive for cocaine, heroin, and other drugs in the United States fuels the Mexican drug war. The noteworthy fact is we are the drug using consumers. Ideally, your dealer is not that bad of a person and never killed anyone, but who is his provider? Does his provider have a provider? Where did your drugs come from? When did they cross the border? What social injustices were committed by the people who smuggled your drugs into the United States? It is a serious issue and one to consider. When we look back, we often think about how we hurt ourselves and who we directly hurt, but who else did we indirectly hurt. We can never really know, but I wonder who I hurt in the vast macro-system of drug distribution I so often tapped.
The Assosciated Press. (2012, May 14). 49 Headless Bodies Dumped in Mexican Town. Retrieved 2012, from NPR: http://www.npr.org/2012/05/14/152660093/49-headless-bodies-dumped-in-mexican-town
Zabludovsky, K. (2012, May 13). Police Find 49 Bodies by a Highway in Mexico. Retrieved 2012, from Karla Zabludovsky: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/14/world/americas/police-find-49-bodies-by-a-highway-in-mexico.html