Bodies missing after Mexican drug cartel massacre caught on video – The Guardian

Prosecutors say they cannot determine how many were killed because attackers cleaned up the scene and removed any bodies
Mexicans have been left wondering what happened to about a dozen men who disappeared after they were seen lined up against a wall by drug cartel gunmen.
In a video apparently filmed by a resident of the town San José de Gracia in the western state of Michoacán and posted on social media, bursts of gunfire broke out and smoke covered the scene.
The camera cuts away, and most observers assumed all the men – perhaps as many as 17 – died.
But prosecutors said Monday that they cannot say how many were killed, because the attackers cleaned up the scene, washed the sidewalk and carted away any bodies. Investigators found only a bag full of brains and shell casings at the scene.
The attack on Sunday occurred outside a funeral service for the mother of an alleged hitman for the Jalisco New Generation cartel. Jalisco has been fighting long-running, bloody turf battles in Michoacán against the rival Viagras gang, also known as the United Cartels.
The chief prosecutor of Michoacán state said members of the rival gang went to the funeral looking for the hitman, who authorities identified only by his first name, Alejandro.
State prosecutor Adrián López Solís said that the hitman apparently died at the scene and that any other bodies were piled into pickup trucks and carted off by the attackers. Other videos posted on social media showed two or three bodies tossed into a pickup truck.
López Solís said the attack occurred only a few blocks from the town hall, where three local police officers were on duty. He said the police neither went to the scene nor sounded an alarm, contending that “they didn’t have sufficient force” to intervene.
Local police in Mexico are often out-gunned and out-numbered by cartel gunmen.
There have been a string of recent attacks at funerals in Mexico, as cartel gunmen seek to exterminate members of rival gangs who attend the services.
Jorge Luis Anguiano, the mayor whose township includes San José de Gracia, said that before the attack a large convoy of vehicles was seen entering from neighboring Jalisco state, home to the cartel of the same name. He said local police didn’t have the firepower to intervene.
“Seeing the number of presumed criminals that were there and given the rules of engagement, we had to retreat,” Anguiano said. “We do not have the firepower to handle this type of situations.
“In situations like this, municipal governments are left exposed,” he said.


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