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Zetas cartel hit man arrested over marine torture-slayings

At least 12 bodies found in Guadalajara in separate cartel violence

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Authorities in Mexico have arrested a senior member of the violent Zetas drug cartel who is suspected of being involved in the torture and murders of four marines last month, the Associated Press reported Friday.

According to CNN Mexico, Marcos Jesus Hernandez Rodriguez, also known as "El Chilango,” was arrested Wednesday.

The four marines were kidnapped and killed on April 18 in Xalapa, the capital of violence-hit Veracruz state, as they returned from a training course, the AP said, citing navy spokesman Jose Luis Vergara.

Marines have been deployed to many parts of Veracruz to take over security duties because drug cartels have intimidated or corrupted local police.

Milenio said Hernandez Rodriguez, described as a top Zetas hit man, has been linked to at least seven murders. 

The arrest comes after a spate of violence in the Gulf coast state in recent weeks.

The dismembered bodies of two photojournalists were found in Veracruz last week, just days after a magazine reporter was found dead in her home in the same state.

Veracruz has been the scene of a brutal and deadly war between the paramilitary Zetas and New Generation, a cartel based in the western state of Jalisco and allied with the Sinaloa cartel. 

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In 2011 Reporters Without Borders described Veracruz as one of the deadliest places in the world for journalists. Scores of journalists have been killed in Mexico in the past decade as drug-related violence intensified.

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Marcos Jesus 'El Chilango' Hernandez Rodriguez

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At least 12 dismembered bodies found

Mexican police found at least a dozen decapitated and dismembered bodies near Guadalajara on Wednesday in the latest incident in a rash of drug-related violence, according to Reuters.

A policeman said the bodies, which were stuffed in two abandoned vehicles, were so badly mutilated that their gender could not be determined. A note left near the bodies was signed by the Zetas cartel, led by former soldiers from the Mexican army, according to Reuters.

The Associated Press reported the number of bodies as 15, revealing that the area the vans were left in was an area frequented by tourists.

Jalisco state prosecutor Tomas Coronado said 15 severed heads were found, though there could be more bodies in the vans.

The AP said the area has seen violence emerging from turf battles between the Jalisco New Generation gang, allied with the Sinaloa cartel, and the Zetas drug cartel.

Coronado said the dismembered bodies might be connected to the abduction of 12 people who later escaped on Tuesday. A woman who was watching the abducted people said the kidnappings were retaliation for the killing of 23 people whose bodies were found in Nuevo Laredo on May 4, hanging from a bridge and dumped near city hall.

In recent weeks, Mexico has seen dozens of gruesome killings linked to drug cartels, including the deaths of journalists who worked on drug related stories.

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