- - Monday, May 21, 2012

MEXICO CITY — The Mexican army said Monday that the top leaders of the hyperviolent Zetas drug cartel ordered underlings to leave 49 mutilated bodies in a northern Mexico town square and then hung banners around the country denying responsibility.

The announcement came at a news conference to present suspect Daniel Jesus Elizondo Ramirez, who allegedly got orders from Zetas leaders Miguel-Angel Trevino Morales and Heriberto Lazcano to dump the bodies in the town square of Cadereyta, in the border state of Nuevo Leon.

Brig. Gen. Edgar Luis Villegas said that Elizondo Ramirez, despite his nickname of “El Loco,” or the Crazy One, apparently got nervous about dumping the hacked-up bodies in town and left them on a highway outside of Cadereyta instead. The bodies with their heads, hands and feet hacked off were found May 13.

In the following days, banners appeared hanging from freeway overpasses in northern San Luis Potosi and other states denying the Zetas were responsible.

Villegas said the denials were part of a Zetas strategy to “cause confusion among authorities and the public.”


Survivor: Honduran police fired on passenger boat

LA CEIBA — Lucio Adan Nelson dozed on a riverboat ferrying him home from a visit with his mother when helicopters appeared overhead and started shooting.

He and about a dozen other passengers traveling in the middle of the night jumped into the water for cover.

The young Honduran man was hit in the arm and back but said he couldn’t seek help.

“I had to stay in the water for some time because they kept shooting,” he said Sunday from a hospital bed.

Honduran police and agents of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration were aboard U.S. helicopters for an anti-drug operation. They have said they were shooting at drug traffickers who fired first from a boat in the Patuca River in the Mosquitia region near the Caribbean coast.

Local officials say four innocent people died in the incident May 11. Honduran police say the anti-drug team found no casualties after the shooting but only an empty boat with nearly a half ton of cocaine.

The DEA agents never fired during the operation, acting only in an advisory role, both U.S. and Honduran officials say.

Honduran military intelligence is investigating, but no one has talked to Mr. Nelson, 22.

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