Report: Drug traffickers staging gladiatorlike fights with captives
Mexican authorities exhume bodies from a mass grave in Acapulco last week.
June 15th, 2011
10:41 AM ET

Report: Drug traffickers staging gladiatorlike fights with captives

Drug traffickers in Mexico have been abducting bus passengers and forcing them to fight each other like gladiators with the winners being ordered to become assassins, a drug trafficker tells the Houston Chronicle.

The fights, initiated by members of the Zetas cartel, are called "Who's going to be the next hitman?" said the trafficker, who agreed to talk to the Chronicle on condition of anonymity.

The gladiators use machetes, hammers and sticks. "They cut guys to pieces," the paper quotes the trafficker as saying.

The winners are sent by the Zetas on suicide missions to shoot up the territory of rivals, the trafficker told the Chronicle. The losers end up in mass graves.

The trafficker said he was not a witness to the fights but gang emembers told him about them.

Federal law enforcement officials told the Chronicle they did not know of any gladiator fights, but they said the trafficker's story was plausible given the escalating violence in Mexico.

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Filed under: Crime • Drugs • Mexico
soundoff (336 Responses)
  1. mofo

    Geeesh, poor people. The cartel has had power for so long it's sad. The government is not doing all it can to help themselves.

    June 15, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Sal

    The country is in a steep decline and will not be able to recover. 

    June 15, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • lance corporal

      pessimism always loses....

      June 15, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  3. mikeonthebay

    Can't wait for Obama to invite them all to become US citizens!!!!

    June 15, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • JT

      I love how i-d-i-o-t-s like mikeonthebay try to use everything as a chance to swipe at Obama. So childish.

      June 15, 2011 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fighting ignorance

      Wow. Maybe you should get on a bus in Mexico. I can never understand how someone can comment on these forums with such an ignorant statement. You are probably pro-republican but reap all the benefits of the democrats (taxation, EIC, etc). I'm sure you are also in line applying for government funded health insurance while on your Iphone 4 paid for by disability?

      June 15, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Susan

      And free health care and education!!!!

      June 15, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • JB

      you are a d ouch e ba g

      June 15, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      Obama will give them welfare also so that they do not need to work!

      June 15, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lolita

      And if they don't have to work because they're getting welfare, then they can focus on trafficking drugs and making a little extra cash! Open Borders – what a wonderful idea Obama!

      June 15, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Barry

      Remember this mess was all started by The Reagan administration and their just say no campaign, while telling Columbia to stop exporting pot, Mexico took over and Columbia started producing cocaine

      June 15, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sheila

      Are you saying drugs were legal before Reagan? What is your source that he "told" "Columbia" to stop producing pot and that, as a direct result of this, "Columbia" started producing cocaine? Who did he tell? The drug cartels? Please cite your sources.

      June 15, 2011 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Josh

      Not sure what the libtards find wrong with mikethebay's original post.
      Obama may not care for Mexicans or Americans.
      He does definitely care for Mexican votes to get re-elected. His own speeches make that apparent.

      June 15, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • lance corporal


      June 15, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Flint Rock

    Isn't it great that we have a firearms industry in the United States which supplies these less than human miscreants
    with 70% of the guns/bullets necessary to stay in power. Where's the NRA on this one?

    June 15, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Oldtimer

      It was actually a failed/misguided Obama administration program that suppiled them the guns. Have you ever tried reading the news?

      June 15, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • nosferatu

      Frankly, the NRA should get together and form a posse to hunt these badly wired individuals down.

      Are you really naive enough to think it's legal gun owners who supply these people? And if guns were banned they wouldn't get them anyway?
      Oh, wait, that's right, it WOULD work. Drugs are banned and we all know they don't have access to them.

      Go back to the kiddies table and let the adults talk.

      June 15, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob from Pittsburgh

      @ nosferatu

      The reality is that legal gun ownwers buy the guns and the sell them illegaly to a mule and then he sell them to the cartels.. Wake up man..

      June 15, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • shooter mcgavin

      You're such a fool. 70% of the weapons the Mexican gangs use aren't from america. 70% of the tracable guns might be, but that's only because they can be traced. What they don't tell you is that the number of untraceable guns is much, much higher than traceable. LEt's not forget, The ATF under orders from Obama's Admin sent THOUSANDS of guns across the border in an "attempt" to weed out trafficers. That didn't work so well when one of those guns was used to kill a federal agent.
      If you think it is the gun industry and supporters of the 2nd amendment that are the problem you are wrong. It's our government sponsoring the violence down there, to scare the populace here to accept tigheter government control.

      June 15, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ryan in Michigan

      @Bob from Pittsburg – You need to quit smoking that stuff. It's bad for you. Your "reality" in which the legal owners of firearms buy and sell to the drug cartels is poorly misguided. Most of the firearms purchased by the cartels are stolen, stockpiled, then shipped across the border to Mexico. It doesn't make any sense for people within the NRA, who very widely support efforts of the Border Patrol and our government to attempt controlling immigration, to be supplying the other side with weaponry. Think before you post.

      June 15, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • vorsicht

      Nice try but a good many of the weapons that really did come from the US were supplied to Mexican Authorities by the US State Department. The Zetas, for example, were trained by US special Forces and were supplied with weapons. When the Zetas realized there was more money to be had working for the Cartels than for the Mexican Government, they took their training and guns with them.

      The Mexican Goverment has repeatedly stonewalled US officials when asked for access to ALL weapons they confiscate. Instead they only allow the US access to guns they know came from the US.

      News reports, especially from Mexico constantly refer to the cartels using fully Automatic weapons. News Flash!!!! You cannot buy those kinds of weapons readily in the US yet the media here makes it seem like you can.

      June 15, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • lance corporal

      parrotting the same old mantra regardless of the impact on society

      June 15, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ryan in Michigan

      @vorsicht – Actually, what you said makes a lot of sense. CNN ought to put more information into these articles. I've been to gun shows around my state, and buying the type of firearms they've been collecting in Mexico is next to impossible. There just aren't any out there for sale. Occassionally a large vendor will have a military-spec weapon on display, but it's never for sale and is often modified so it won't fire or won't fire on fully automatic (I see this most often with decommissioned M-16s). To even by a firearm, you have to provide multiple IDs, pass a criminal background check, and sometimes wait several days. I'm not complaining, just stating facts – I don't mind the wait if it makes purchases more valid and makes it harder for criminals to purchase firearms. I'm not sure about other states, but I know Michigan has very strict purchase laws and requires classes on firearm safety before you can even use a rifle legally, such as hunter's safety and handgun training.

      June 15, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Joshua Ludd

    And why does this happen? Because we keep drugs illegal which costs us tons of money we could be using for better things while driving up the prices which keeps the cartels in business. Legalize and these problems go away. How many have to die before we decide its okay for people to smoke pot?

    June 15, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • DD

      Agree'd. This drug war has been a complete failure with Billions spent and nothing to show for it except more prisons, cops, guards, lawyers, courts etc.... We have real problems to focus on instead of busting potheads for sitting around playing video games and eating doritos. If they really cared about our health these hypocrits would fight alcohol and cigarette addiction first.

      June 15, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ryan in Michigan

      So, if we legalize drugs, they'll get cheaper, everyone can afford them, and the cartels will all become peaceful? Using that logic, we should also legalize other things too, like firearms and theft. After all, if all firearms were legal, we wouldn't have to worry about busting people with assault rifles and grenade launchers because it would be legal, and they'd just use them in their own backyard, right? Just think how the crime rate would drop if stealing were legal. There would be tens of thousands less in our jails for theft (though the computer you're typing on may not be safe anymore). If slavery were legal again, we would have lower prices on everything from food to clothing to fuel! We could completely eliminate speeding tickets by eliminating speed limits. No more high speed chases! Speaking of which, if you think people will just sit around smoking pot and other drugs peacefully, you need to talk to someone whose relative was killed by someone high on drugs, whether it be by a firearm, a stupid error in judgement (such as thinking they can fly out the fourth story window), or in a car accident with a drugged-up driver. It happens all the time, and legalizing drugs would only make it worse.

      June 15, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tal

      Theft is not a product. The laws of supply and demand do not apply to it. You fail at logic.

      The cartels would go away because they support 100% of their operations by selling things which are illegal at exorbinant prices.

      If a smuggling organization has nothing to smuggle they have no way to even pay their own people. Its hard to bribe officials and buy rifles with a plant that people can grow in their yard.

      By the way... firearms are legal. You are legally allowed to own a functioning tank as long as you keep it on your own property. It just has to be registered. Same with rocketlaunchers, flame throwers, heavy machine guns, etc.

      These things are heavily regulated, not illegal. Did I mention that you were an idiot yet?

      June 15, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Sal

    Legalizing drugs is assinine....

    June 15, 2011 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • waves

      Why is legalizing drugs assinine? If we legalize it, then we can regulate it, tax it, and it would end the illegal activities surrounding it.

      June 15, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • TOM

      Even in the best of times of the drug war, you could still get anything you want. I agree with WAVES, legalize it: "then we can regulate it, tax it, and it would end the illegal activities surrounding it." We would spend less money fighting this stupid drug war, The drug lords in Mexico would then be obsolete and hopefully the killing will as well. We need to learn from history here. We have spent trillions on the war on drugs with absolutely no pay back.

      June 15, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tal

      We already have legalized drugs. Ever heard of alcohol or tobacco?

      Both can be harmful to the stupid people who use them. Nobody is slaughtering people over either of those.

      Criminal penalties to stop stupid people from doing stupid things only make them buy from violent criminals instead.

      June 15, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • lance corporal

      not according to law enforcement and other educated people

      June 15, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Greg

    Why is it assinine, Sal?

    I have never smoked pot or done drugs, but the numbers show it is much less harmful than alcohol. Pot is a big portion of the cartel profits. Seems like it would make sense to me....

    June 15, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • nosferatu

      Really? Heroin, meth, coke, less dangerous than alcohol? You really made that statement?

      So, if we legalize and tax it, users will stop robbing and home invading and other deeds to get money to buy it?
      I guess they would, eh? If it's legalized, I'm POSITIVE all the users will suddenly have the light bulb go on that says "hey, I think I'll get a job and pay for my legalized drugs..."

      God, do you people ever think?

      June 15, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tal

      They wouldnt need to resort to crime because the stuff would all be cheap as dirt if it was legal.

      June 15, 2011 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Robert

    Use it and tax it they say..people wake the hec are already being taxed. Police Union members who get overtime to go after them, prison guards who run gladiator events in the prison and still get overtime to do it, and drug treatment center who are funded by HMOs. With those kind of people making the big bucks and keeping congress lobbied to death do you really think our elected officials want this problem to go away? has it ever occurred to anybody out there...they want this plague imposed on us!

    June 15, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Greg

    I am not a heat fan, but i can come up with a large number of NBA players that have never made the final. Seems they are bigger losers. Not to mention those of us, caugh me, that can't play better than pick up games at the park

    June 15, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Joel

    Gee, I can't wait until MEChA gets its way and Aztlan is returned to Mexico. (Google MEChA and "El Plan Espiritual de Aztlan" if you don't know what I'm talking about because the mainstream press doesn't cover MEChA's written goals – too politically incorrect.) Then we can have those same conditions here in what used to be California, Texas, and New Mexico, just like MEChA wants. You gotta love those idiotic Latino activitists. It proves that the education in this country truly has failed our students. Very sad.

    June 15, 2011 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Surfside

    Well, as for U.S. guns getting into Mexico...
    Hmm, maybe if the border was...oh, I enforced? on BOTH sides, then these guns wouldn't be getting down South.
    Oh, wait...Mexico needs all that money that their former-citizens are funneling (untaxed) back to their kin.

    June 15, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tal

      So to secure the border we what?

      Build a massive wall on the scale of the Great Wall of China, the entire length of which is constantly monitored by an army of soldiers 24/7? Cover the entire area with sensors to make sure nobody is digging under the wall? Have a 24/7 blockade of coast guard patrol boats across the gulf and west coast? Dismantle every private plane as it lands to search for hidden compartments? Pay everyone doing all of these things so much that they cant be bribed?

      We can barely afford to put up a dumb pointless fence. The cost of securing the border would ruin us.

      And you know what? Criminals would still find ways to get around it. Why? Because more secure borders and harsher criminal penalties only increase the value of the goods which smugglers are smuggling. This means that they can afford to invest more to defeat your security as that security increases. And those criminals would be willing to act far more violently to protect a much more lucrative stream of revenue.

      Criminals only need to breach your security at a single point, whereas you have to defend against every possible method of incursion. This means that they can always escalate ahead of the curve. There is no such thing as 100% security.

      June 15, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • kman02

      Let's do a bit of math...The border is 1969 miles long or 3,386,680 yards. To really secure the border, we'd need boots on the ground every 200 yards. That's 16,934 posts, manned 24/7/365. You just created 50,801 new federal employees with salary and benefits totaling over $5B/year. All this at a time when the govt. is looking at a 10% cut in overall positions. Add in vehicles, weapons, roads/bridges, and fuel.

      What I'm saying is it IS possible, but it is not going to happen.

      Besides, who would even want to work for the goverment any more with all the slamming they get. Where will you finde the 50K people dumb enough to do the work?

      June 15, 2011 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Ron White

    what's a "gang emember?" Nice editing CNN

    June 15, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • ereader

      it is an electronic gang member, they are getting advanced down there...

      June 15, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jim

    Yes, and they'll get welfare so they don't have to work. Thank you, Obama.

    June 15, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob from Pittsburgh

      Most of the people on welfare are White, and some blacks.. No to many Latinos or Asians on welfare.. We look for jobs you guys don’t want to do..

      June 15, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • lance corporal

      if your gonna hate on our president at least do it intelligently

      June 15, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • kman02

      I find it humorous that idiots think that not a single illegal came over before President Obama took office. Thank back to when the T-Party was formed. One of their main tenets was to secure the border. George W. Bush was president. Hmmmmmmm.

      June 15, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Barry

    Remember this mess was all started by The Reagan administration and their "just say no" campaign, while telling Columbia to stop exporting pot, Mexico took over and Columbia started producing cocaine which came through via Noriega who was working for the CIA. Your Government at it's best.....look it's all true

    June 15, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  15. DaMan

    "Escalating violence"? I think it's already escalated.

    June 15, 2011 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
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