Mexican authorities blamed the Zetas gang for the slaughter of 49 people whose headless, handless bodies were recovered Sunday near a highway that leads from Monterrey, Mexico, to the South Texas border, reports the Houston Chronicle. A message left with the bodies outside the oil refining town of Cadereyta – supposedly signed by the Zetas – claimed credit for the latest in a series of recent atrocities by rival criminal gangs waging a brutal terror campaign against one another. The message’s content was not disclosed.
Though the lack of heads or fingerprints obviously will complicate identification of the victims, authorities rushed to assure a beleaguered public that ordinary citizens aren’t being targeted. “This is not an attack against the civilian population,” said a police spokesman. The corpses of the 43 men and six women were dumped about 2 a.m. The victims were killed elsewhere as many as two days ago. Monterrey and its suburbs, home to some 4 million people, have become a crucial front of the gangland violence that has killed more than 50,000 people since December 2006.