A new practice has emerged that raises the bar for twisted cruelty in Mexico’s bloody drug wars, where beheadings, hangings and shootings are regular occurrences. The Zetas drug cartel is reportedly pitting kidnap victims against each other in gladiator-style battles to the death. The revelation comes from a drug trafficker speaking anonymously in Texas, according to the Houston Chronicle. The trafficker reportedly described how Zetas gang members storm highway buses, kill the elderly, rape the women, and force the able-bodied men to fight in their blood sport. Armed with machetes, hammers or sticks, these victims are forced to fight until one of them is killed, said the trafficker.
The practice has been linked to the discovery of mass graves in northern Mexico, where over 400 bodies have been unearthed in recent months. Meanwhile, 33 people were killed during a 24-hour span in June in the city of Monterrey, where gangs battle for control of drug traffic. Since 2006, more than 35,000 people have been killed in Mexico’s drug war.