CARTEL killers who butchered nine Mormon women and children in Mexico are fighting the most barbaric drugs war in the country’s blood-soaked history.
The gruesome violence — which is so twisted it is said to have inspired ISIS — has been spiralling out of control, leaving so many corpses they’ve had to be stored in refrigerated trucks because there’s not enough space in the country’s morgues.
Nationwide, the central American country is on course to break its record murder toll of 33,000 victims that was set last year.
Deaths of this scale are usually seen in major conflicts.
Most of these are drug cartel victims, who were often ritually tortured, executed, dismembered and dumped in the street.
Chopping heads off is favoured and in some cases eyes have been gouged out beforehand.
Hangings on motorway bridges has become a trend.
In fact nothing seems to be off-limits.
MORMONS CAUGHT IN TURF WAR
The cold-blooded murder of Mormon women and children in Mexico’s borderlands represents a new low in Mexico’s drug war, in which torture and beheadings are almost daily occurrences.
Th depraved maniacs delight in filming the murders and posting the footage online.
Experts believe ISIS were inspired by them.
It is understood the convoy of American Mormans, who were on their way to a wedding, were attacked by members of the Juarez drug cartel, who are contesting the border region because it is key to smuggling drugs into the US.
The cartels in Mexico have moved to another level of barbarity, they are as bad or worse than ISIS
Rosa LeBaron, bereaved relative of massacre victims
The killers are rivals of the Sinaloa cartel, formerly led by kingpin El Chapo Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, who is serving a life sentence in America after being convicted last February of industrial-scale drug trafficking.
The cartel’s armed wing, La Linea, “The Line”, invaded Sinaloa territory last week and set up an armed outpost on a hilltop and an ambush further up the road.
It was this invasion force that the American mothers and their three vehicles drove into.
The murderers apparently wanted to send a message that it controlled the road into Chihuahua which is a key smuggling route into the US.
RULE BY FEAR
Making an example of victims is the cartel’s method of ruling by fear.
Often, victims are tortured and mutilated, in an attempt to intimidate rivals, officials and others who might represent a threat to the cartels.
One example was Hugo Hernandez, 36, whose head was reportedly cut off with a chainsaw and his body carefully sliced into seven pieces and left in the street in the northern city of Los Mochis, in the state of Sinaloa.
Worse still, his face had been peeled off and stitched onto a football.
The ball was found in a plastic bag near city hall with a “Happy New Year, because this will be your last”.
The Juarez clan, who are named after the border city they are based in, are ruthless to say the least and responsible for 1,200 murders this year alone.
On Tuesday the group were responsible for a deadly night of “revenge” by organised crime, filled with shootings and burned bodies on buses, leaving ten dead.
THE SOUP MAKER
Bones of up to 650 victims have been found after they were dissolved in acid by Sinaloa cartel hitman known as the “Soup Maker” who based his grisly operations in the northern border city of Tijuana.
Other practices include putting people in drums and either boiling them or setting them on fire or feeding them alive to exotic animals like lions and tigers.
Joshua Fruth, a risk consultant focused on transnational threat networks, told Fox News: ”A couple of years ago, citizens around the world were utterly shocked by the beheadings and immolation murders perpetrated by ISIS.
“This caught me by surprise because these tactics have been perpetuated by Sinaloa for some time.”
He said the cartel’s horrific tactics include the injection of adrenaline and other substances that affect the central nervous system of its victims “which kept them awake to enhance the responses of pain receptors during slow, prolonged torture”.
The cartels are also known to have a history of sexually assaulting the family members of their target, and forcing them to watch.
But it is not just the borderlands that are dangerous.
Cartels are also active in Mexico’s Caribbean coast in resorts popular with British tourists.
The Yucatán Peninsula is best known for its beaches, numerous resorts and nightlife all of which are a magnet for British sunseekers after a bargain package holiday.
In fact hundreds of thousands jet out there each year.
But these resorts have become a battleground for drug cartels who are fighting to control the region.
According to reports, in the area containing the party beach resort of Playa del Carmen last year the body count was 130 in one year.
In Cancun alone there was 540 murders last year.
The spiralling cartel wars have left a backlog of 30,000 unidentified corpses languishing in trucks and morgues.
There are also an uncalculated number of skeletal remains piling up across the country, according to the government commission’s report published last Thursday.
Mexico’s mounting wave of homicides over the last decade has also contributed to the huge pileup of corpses.
A trailer carrying more than 270 unidentified bodies is driven through the streets of Guadalajara[/caption]
In the wake of Monday’s Mormon killings, US President Donald Trump to urge Mexico and the United States to “wage war” together on the drug cartels.
But Mexico has already unleashed its military against cartels, starting in 2006.
And this has failed to reduce violence. Instead, the campaign has led to more killings as criminal groups splinter and fight among themselves.
The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office advises British visitors that northern Mexico is an extremely perilous place.
It says: “You should take care when travelling to Ciudad Juarez or other cities in Northern States.
“Travel during daylight hours when possible, inform relatives or friends of your travel plans and use reputable hotels only.”
Cartel violence in Mexico
In the first half of 2019, there were a staggering 17,608 gangland murders in Mexico – with 94 people being killed every single day.
Last year saw a total of 33,341, making it the bloodiest year on record, but this year is set to be the most violent of all time.
And the bloodshed is spilling into affluent tourist hotspots including Mexico City and Cancun – where over half a million Brits holiday every summer.
While the latest homicide statistics are horrific, the methods cartels use to keep rivals in check is just as terrifying.
In recent years, large cartels have splintered into smaller factions who then battle for previously shared turf, escalating the violence, and prompting kidnaps and torture.
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The victims of Monday’s slaughter were buried today in mass graves.
Rosa LeBaron, 65, whose cousins, nieces and nephews died in the attacks, said: “I really believe that the cartels in Mexico have moved to another level of barbarity, they are as bad or worse than ISIS.
“These sicarios (hitmen), why are they doing it? Out of greed and pure evil.”
She said Mexico needed to overcome pride, and accept outside help from a neighbouring country or international coalition, like the United Nations, to stamp out the evil cartels once and for all.
Rhonita’s twins Tiana and Titus, six months, died in an SUV with their mother when a Mexican cartel gunman opened fire[/caption]
Rhonita’s daughter Krystal, ten, was also killed[/caption]
Howard LeBaron was also killed[/caption]
Six kids were among those killed in the attack on the convoy of three cars[/caption]
Relatives carry a coffin during the funeral service of Dawna Ray Langford, 43, and her sons Trevor and Rogan, who were killed in the massacre[/caption]
Girls stand beside flowers at the funeral service for three victims[/caption]