In Mexico, eight men are executed in downtown Monterrey

Authorities in Monterrey, Mexico, at scene of executions

REPORTING FROM MEXICO CITY — Eight men were executed and left on the street early Thursday in downtown Monterrey, in the latest outburst of violence to buffet the industrial northern city.

News reports quoted residents as saying a series of gunshots were heard in the area before dawn. The reports said the victims were found surrounded by spent bullet casings.

Adrian de la Garza, prosecutor for Nuevo Leon state, said the death of a woman, whose body was found in a separate spot, may be tied to the men's killings.

Monterrey has been rocked by fighting between rival drug-trafficking groups for more than a year and a half, turning the once-quiet factory town into one of Mexico’s most violent places. Some wealthy residents have fled to the United States or other parts of Mexico considered safer, such as Mexico City.

In August, 52 people died when attackers barged into a Monterrey casino, sprayed gasoline and set fire to the place. Police attribute the attack to the Zetas gang, which has battled rivals for supremacy in the city.

Monterrey is just one of the places where spreading drug violence has altered life. The beach resort of Acapulco has watched tourism wilt for more than a year as killings mount, while residents in Guadalajara and Veracruz have been horrified to see piles of bodies dumped in the streets in recent months.

According to the Mexican government’s tally, at least 47,000 people have died, largely because of feuding between trafficking groups, since December 2006, when President Felipe Calderon declared war on organized crime. Many critics blame the president’s anti-crime strategy for ramping up the violence, but Calderon insists he is doing the right thing by taking on traffickers.

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-- Ken Ellingwood

Photo: Forensic personnel work at the site where eight men were killed by gunmen in Monterrey, Mexico, on Thursday, Jan. 26, 2012. Credit: Dario Leon/AFP/Getty Images

 
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