We know the Zetas drug cartel can be as sophisticated as any modern government. But the rest of the time, they're as mercilessly savage as the lowest criminal thugs. And now they're aiming the horrific bloodshed at online opponents.
A CNN report describes a gruesome double murder in which two young people in their 20s were disemboweled, mutilated and hung publicly beneath a bridge for all to see—all after being extensively tortured. The dispatch notes the bodies were so brutalized, their innards were visibly hanging out. Why? To send a message: next to their bodies sat a crudely-drawn sign denouncing the pair's use of social media: "This is going to happen to all of those posting funny things on the Internet. You better (expletive) pay attention. I'm about to get you." The narcoterrorist poster board was signed with a Z, pointing to the notorious (and notoriously bloodthirsty) Zetas cartel.
Mexicans have increasingly turned to the internet as a last safe, anonymous place to discuss the drug war raging inside their country. Cops are corrupt. Local government's corrupt. Often, their ISPs are one of the few places not in the pocket of a drug criminal. But it's clear this safe haven was no such thing, and either through sloppiness or some online detective work, cartel killers have been able to track down dissenting citizens by their online outcries. And unfortunately, the grizzly killings seem to already be working: popular message board Al Rojo Vivo—listed by name on the Zetas sign—is no longer accepting public comments in the wake of the lynching, With fewer places to share their fear and report cartel crimes, drug terrorists tighten a fascistic grip on Mexico. [CNN]
File photo of cartel crime scene by Spencer Platt/Getty