Mexico body dump: result of a gang war?
Mexican officials identified several of the bodies dumped on a Mexican highway as Zeta gang members. A gang linked to the Sinaloa Cartel claimed responsibility for the murders.
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Interestingly, “El Ferras” is the alias of Felipe Ferra Gomez, an individual who became an Internet celebrity in 2008 after a video was posted online of him drunkenly bragging to police about murdering a former friend. The video has received over 13 million hits on YouTube. Although his death has not been confirmed, Mr. Ferra was reportedly among those who escaped from prison on Monday. So far as is known, Ferra did not have anything like enough importance in the criminal world to merit being named in a narco banner as the cause of 35 deaths. Thus, he may have been targeted for the public recognition he gained the Internet, offering another proof that what happens online can have real life consequences in Mexico's drug war. Last week two individuals were killed and hung from a bridge in Nuevo Laredo, apparently for criticizing the Zetas on a popular blog which tracks organized crime.Skip to next paragraph
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Like Nuevo Laredo, the city of Veracruz has traditionally been Zetas territory. The murders would appear to be a direct affront to their control of the “plaza," which is perhaps not surprising considering that the Zetas have come under increasing pressure in recent weeks. Earlier this year, narcomantas signed by the Sinaloa, Gulf, and Familia gangs were hung around Mexico, declaring their intention to band together in a common front against the Zetas. In early July the Mexican government formally announced that dismantling the group was the first priority of their security strategy, and US President Barack Obama recently designated the Zetas as the target of sanctions under the Kingpin Act, allowing the Justice Department to seize the group's assets in the country.
If the Gente Nueva are indeed behind the attack, this indicates that the Zetas are facing a new enemy in Veracruz. As noted above, the Gente are based primarily in the northern state of Chihuahua. Their arrival to Veracruz not only suggests that they may be winning the battle in Juarez, but also that they are developing as a serious criminal force in their own right. As InSight Crime has reported, there has been some infighting between Gente Nueva factions in recent months, supporting the theory that they are ready to expand their turf into other parts of the country.
--- Geoffrey Ramsey is a writer for Insight – Organized Crime in the Americas, which provides research, analysis, and investigation of the criminal world throughout the region. Find all of his research here.
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