"Black Friday" in Nuevo Laredo: 23 dead

In what the Mexican media are calling "Black Friday," nine bodies—some bearing signs of torture—were hanged side-by-side from an overpass in the border city of Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, on May 4, while 14 decapitated bodies were found stuffed in a minivan left outside a customs inspection building. The heads were later found in three ice coolers left outside the city hall. Four of those left hanging from the overpass were women; the decapitated bodies were all of men in the their 20s. A professionally printed "narco-banner" in block letters on the overpass read: "This is how I am going to finish off [Asi me los voy a ir acabando] all the jerks* [todos los pendejos] you send to heat up [que mandes a calentar] the plaza," apparently a reference to a car bomb that exploded in the city center on April 24, targeting the police and injuring one. The banner included a warning for someone called "El Gringo" who it accused of car-bomb attacks. It closes: "Now we'll see you around, you bunch of whorish parasites." (Ahora ahí nos vemos bola de parapatras puto.) Authorities said the message appeared to be from Los Zetas and addressed to their local rivals in the Gulf Cartel. Mexico's federal government has launched an operation dubbed "Northeast Coordinator" in response to the inter-factional violence in Tamaulipas.

In a similar incident, a little more than two weeks earlier, 14 dismembered bodies were were found stuffed inside a minivan abandoned near Nuevo Laredo's city hall. The banner left with the bodies on April 18 was signed by fugitive kingpin Joaquin Guzmán AKA "El Chapo"—seen as a sign that his Sinaloa Cartel is now allied with the Gulf Cartel in a bid to take back Nuevo Laredo from the Zetas. Although the new narco-banner was not signed, authorities apparently consider the May 4 attack to be Zeta retaliation for the earlier one.

The new narco-banner was addressed to "Pinches golfas"—pinche basically means "damned or "worthless"; golfa is another slang word for "whore" or "slut," but could also be a punning reference to followers of the Gulf Cartel. It also boasts of killing someone who had asked "Comandante Lazcano" for mercy, which seems to be a reference to Zetas boss Heriberto Lazcano. (Canal Sonora,