Zetas allegedly massacre 72 migrants trying to sneak into US

Houston Chronicle:

The one known survivor of a massacre on a Mexico ranch 85 miles south of Brownsville trudged into a Navy checkpoint Monday -- a bullet wound in his neck -- with a tale almost too gruesome even for a country locked in the throes of a vicious and bloody drug war.

He and fellow migrants from Central and South America, he told authorities, were headed to the Texas border with the hope of making it into the United States. Instead, everyone had been shot dead, slaughtered by gangsters even as they pleaded for their lives.

Mexican Marines discovered the 72 bodies - 58 men and 14 women - on Tuesday afternoon after a skirmish with gangsters outside the town of San Fernando. The migrants were massacred by the ruthless Zetas gang, Mexican officials said Wednesday.

The survivor, an Ecuadorean, also was shot but managed to escape, said Adm. Jose Luis Vergara, a naval spokesman.


Officials seemed uncertain if all the victims had been killed at the same time, exactly why they had been murdered, or if they had been found in a mass grave. Such graves have become common amid ongoing gang violence, with scores of bodies uncovered across northern and central Mexico in recent weeks.

But the witness, who apparently escaped with a gunshot wound to the neck, told prosecutors that he was with a group of 75 people being held at the ranch.

The only known survivor's statement seemed to indicate all the victims were killed together, as he told prosecutors he heard gunfire and pleas for mercy as he fled.

After being alerted, Marines manning a highway checkpoint nearby attacked the ranch with helicopter support. Three alleged mobsters and one Marine were killed in the shootout. The troops seized 21 rifles, 6,500 rounds of ammunition and several vehicles that had been disguised as belonging to police and the army.

Mexico's Gulf Coast is a heavily used corridor for migrants from the rest of Latin America and elsewhere hoping to cross illegally into the United States. Many poorer migrants hop trains from the Guatemalan border to the Rio Grande. Those with more money hire smugglers, paying $3,000 or more for the journey.

The Zetas and other criminal bands have become heavily involved in the human smuggling business. They often hold people hostage until they're paid sums far beyond the agreed-upon fee, migrant advocates say. Gangsters also kidnap even poorer migrants, hoping to collect ransom from relatives in the United States or back home.

"Some organizations are confronting a very difficult situation in maintaining themselves with resources," Poire said in explaining the gangsters' kidnapping and extortions of migrants.

We are likely to see more of this type of exploitation because of the current Homeland Security policy of deporting only criminal aliens. This only encourages other aliens to come knowing they want be deported unless they are caught in a criminal violation. It also gives them a shot at the amnesty the Democrats would like to put in place.

This policy is playing into the hands of corrupt organizations like the Zetas and other cartels. It is unlikely that the Obama administration will ever take responsibility for the misery it encourages as people try to run the gauntlet to get here. It is also causing hundreds to die in the deserts trying to sneak across the border. It is a in humane policy based on pretensions of a more humane approach.

If the administration would let ICE do its job it would discourage this kind of migration.


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