Photo: Courtesy of El Blog Del Narco
Los Zetas, Mexico’s most brutal drug gang, was responsible for the murder and decapitation of at least 27 people in Guatemala, according to officials from that country.Most of the victims were day laborers on a dairy ranch located in Guatemala’s Peten area, along the Mexican border, the Wall Street Journal reports. Messages written in blood indicated the killers were looking for the ranch’s owner.
Officials said the massacre was the worst in Guatemala since the country’s bloody civil war ended in 1996.
Los Zetas are said to be responsible for some of the most heinous violence in Mexico’s ongoing drug war, including the deaths of at 183 people found in mass graves in the northern Mexican border state of Tamaulipas last month.
The Guatemalan massacre is the latest indication that Mexico’s escalating drug war has pushed Los Zetas and other Mexican crime gangs into Central America. Guatemala’s murder rate has doubled over the past decade. At 46 murders per 100,000 people, the homicide rate is now twice as high as Mexico’s.
Los Zetas – a paramilitary drug trafficking organisation known for ultra-violent tactics – has extended their reach deep into Guatemala. In January, Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom declared a state of siege in Guatemala’s Alta Veracruz province, sending in the army to crack down on Los Zetas operations in the area. On Monday, Colom said he would consider putting Peten under a state of emergency.
But Colom has conceded that at least four parts of the country are now under control of the drug gang. He told The Economist last month that he would need 10,000 more soldiers and 15,000 more police to take back Guatemala from the drug cartels.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.