In the latest example of Mexico's warring drug cartels taunting each other with gruesome on-line videos, footage posted on a popular cartel-tracking blog shows members of the Gulf cartel interrogating and then beheading at least three members of the Zetas cartel.
The grainy three-minute video, which appeared on Mundonarco.com Wednesday, depicts five shirtless men on their knees, their chests painted with large black "Z"s, surrounded by masked members of the Gulf cartel wielding machetes.
Each Zeta prisoner states his name for the camera, at the prompting of an unidentified voice behind the camera. When asked who sent them, each responds "Z-40." "40," as he is known within the Zetas organization, is Miguel Angel Treviño Morales -- the cartel's second-in-command. The U.S. has offered a $5 million reward for information leading to the capture of "40," and he and his two brothers are also under federal indictment in Texas for alleged laundering of cocaine profits through a U.S. horseracing venture.
"You find yourselves here because you came to f*** us," says the narrator of the video, after the hostages have finished speaking. "Pay attention, men."
Then the slow and bloody process of hacking off their heads begins. "This is how all your filthy people are going to end," says the narrator as the victims plead for mercy.
Over a minute later, the video ends with masked Gulf members holding up three severed heads for the camera. "Very good, very good," says the narrator. The two other Zetas prisoners are not shown.
According to Mundonarco.com, the video was shot in Río Bravo, Mexico, on the U.S. border just south of McAllen, Texas in the state of Tamaulipas. Río Bravo is six miles from the Donna International Bridge border crossing. No date is given for the creation of the video.
The Gulf cartel has been operating out of Tamaulipas state since the 1970s. In 2010, when the Zetas cartel, which had once worked as the Gulf cartel's security force, went into business for itself, violence in Tamaulipas and the neighboring state of Nuevo Leon soared, with 2,000 dead in 2010 alone. Multiple mass graves have been discovered in the region and beheadings, hangings, and other forms of torture are common.
In January, Los Zetas released a video in which they hanged two members of the Gulf cartel. Last month, another video showed 49 decapitated bodies of migrant workers being dumped on a highway by alleged members of Los Zetas, with warnings to other cartels to expect similar treatment.