Drug trade causes death of 5 in southern Mexico
Gunmen drove up to a soccer field and shot five men to death as they played soccer, early Monday morning, near the Pacific coast resort of Acapulco, said the southern Mexican police. It was unclear why the five men were playing so late, but the region of Guerrero state is often so hot and humid by day that athletes wait until night to compete. Many people also work unusual hours in the local tourist industry.
The men were playing in the hamlet of Xaltianguis, on the northern outskirts of Acapulco, when gunmen in three vehicles pulled up beside the field and opened fire.
Two of the dead were identified as local men aged 25 and 34. The other three victims had not been identified because relatives quickly took the bodies away.
There was no immediate information on a possible motive for the attack. However, the area around Acapulco has been plagued in recent months by a bloody turf war between rival factions of the Beltran Leyva drug cartel.
Disabled people, women, children and students have all figured among recent victims of violence in the drug war, which has killed more than 22,700 people since President Felipe Calderon launched an offensive against cartels in December 2006.
While on Mexico's southern Pacific coast, the Mexican navy announced a big drug haul. It said a Mexican fishing boat and its five-member crew had been captured while transporting nearly 5,300 pounds (2,400 kilograms) of cocaine.
The 78-foot (24-meter) boat was detained April 27 in international waters, based on information from U.S. officials. Authorities found 105 bales of cocaine in hidden compartments in the boat's fuel tanks.
The boat presumably picked up the drugs in Colombia. On Sunday, police said they captured a man believed to be the leader of the Zetas drug gang in the southern state of Chiapas. Prosecutors in neighboring Tabasco state said suspect Pablo Martinez Rojas was detained near the border with Chiapas, along with four alleged accomplices.
They said the suspects carried out killings and kidnappings for the Zetas, a gang founded by army deserters.
Three assault rifles and pistols were found in the men's possession.
Drug trafficking is considered a federal crime, but the Tabasco state authorities said the detentions show that state authorities are increasingly playing a role in combating drug gangs.