Cartel Leaves Grisly Messages of Warning

Body parts and handwritten signs strewn about in Mexico state's capital of Toluca
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 6, 2023 1:29 PM CDT
Cartel Leaves Grisly Messages of Warning
In this 2011 file photo, federal police officers enter the town of Jilotlan, Mexico, where they had a gun battle with members of the Familia Michoacana cartel.   (AP Photo/Raul Aguilar)

A cartel turf war has taken a gruesome turn near Mexico City, with body parts strewn about the city of Toluca. The severed leg of one victim was hung from a bridge, with the trunk of his body left on the street below, reports the AP. Parts of at least one other body were found elsewhere, along with handwritten warning signs. They are only the latest examples of violence blamed on the Familia Michoacana cartel, which has long ruled in the rural areas of Mexico state but now appears bent on staking claim to the Mexico City region. The cartel originated in neighboring Michoacana state about 20 years ago, though its members are now mostly in the states of Mexico and Guerrero.

"The issue of crime brings us all together, and we all have to fight it," says Toluca Mayor Raymundo Martínez Carbajal. Familia Michoacana specializes in the production and smuggling of meth, according to a Justice Department advisory cited by CBS News. The gang has developed a reputation for particularly violent ambushes of both police and citizens in its territory. A story at El Pais has detailed background on the cartel, led by brothers Johnny and Jose Alfredo Hurtado Olascoaga. In Mexico state, it not only deals in drugs but controls the price of everything from pork to eggs to construction material. (More Mexican drug cartel stories.)

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