The grisly incident happened in the Central Mexican state of Guanajuato.
The victims, who remain in a critical condition, were rescued by witnesses near the town of Silao, Guanajuato. The Prosecutor General has opened an investigation into events. All three are believed to be between the age of 22 and 25.
Guanajuato finds itself at the centre of a brutal turf war between the Cartel Jalisco Nuevo Generación (CJNG) and the Santa Rosa de Lima/Sinaloa Cartel alliance. In the absence of effective law enforcement from Federal authorities, local groups often uphold their own interpretations of the law themselves, often with extreme violence.
The victims were accused by the CJNG of robbery. A note attached to one of the men read: “This happened to me for being a thief, and because I didn’t respect hard working people and continued to rob them. Anyone who does the same will suffer. Signed Elite Group.”. The Elite Group are a notoriously vicious enforcement arm of the CJNG.
Video footage posted on Twitter, late on Friday night, showed the woman, who has not been named, begging eyewitnesses for help. The victim’s hands, which were placed in a bag next to the victims, were recovered at the scene by paramedics.
Official statistics show that between January and August of 2020, Guanajuato was responsible for 13 per cent of murders nationwide. As hostilities escalated, September saw 3,438 murders, almost entirely between cartels vying for control of the region.
The state is the gateway between the cartel-dominated north of Mexico and Mexico City, a city of over 28 million people. Controlling the corridor between the capital and the cartel heartlands of Sonora, Chihuahua and Sinaloa assures cartels of the ability to transport drugs and supplies from their safe zones in the North to the rest of the country.
Unlike previous drug conflicts, the Mexican war has been marked by factionalism, with cartels frequently splitting and forming new alliances and gangs. The cartel is regarded by many observers as the most aggressive and openly disdainful of the Mexican Government.
The CJNG rose to international notoriety earlier in the year after publishing a video showing a military parade, featuring an army of uniformed soldiers, equipped with heavy weaponry and military vehicles.