The perpetrators shot video and still photos of the torture, murder and dismemberment of four Mexican navy personnel and a female civilian who were found dead last month in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz, capital daily Milenio said Wednesday.
The material appeared on a Blackberry confiscated from 16-year-old Romeo Dominguez Velez, who was arrested along with another teenager on April 23, the same day the five bodies were discovered on a country road, the newspaper said.
Sources in the Navy Department contacted by Efe refused to confirm or deny any part of the story, including the deaths of the navy personnel.
Milenio identified the military victims as a non-commissioned officer and three enlisted men based in Boca del Rio, adjacent to Veracruz city.
The four men went missing on April 17 while taking a course at the Veracruz State Police Academy in Xalapa, the state’s capital.
The navy men and a civilian woman with no apparent ties to the other victims were found dead inside an overturned car near Xalapa.
All five bore signs of torture and one was partially dismembered, the newspaper said.
The Blackberry seized from Romeo Dominguez Velez contained 40 photographs and a 1-minute video, Milenio said, without disclosing how it obtained access to the material.
In the video, a badly beaten man asks one of the criminals to untie him and give him “a chance” to save his life, while one of the photos shows a teenage boy with a power saw in his hand next to a body whose legs are severed at the knee.
Another photo depicts a teen laughing as he holds one of the female victim’s severed fingers in his mouth, Milenio said.
Veracruz has been plagued by a turf war between rival drug cartels that has sent the state’s murder rate skyrocketing.
Residents of Veracruz city were stunned last Sept. 20 by the discovery of 35 bodies dumped on a busy thoroughfare. A week later, 32 bodies were found at three drug-gang “safe houses” in the Veracruz-Boca del Rio metro area.
The Gulf, Los Zetas and relatively new Jalisco Nueva Generacion cartels, as well as breakaway members of the once-powerful La Familia Michoacana organization, are fueling the violence in Veracruz, which is Mexico’s third-most populous state and a key drug-trafficking corridor to the United States, officials say.