Authorities have discovered the farm where twisted drug cartel hitmen forced a group of kidnapped friends to kill each other with stones.
Five men – Uriel Galván González, Jaime Martínez Miranda, Roberto Olmeda Cuellar, Diego Lara Santoyo and Dante Cedillo Hernández – were reported missing in Lagos de Moreno, Jalisco, Mexico last Saturday (August 12). They are all aged between 19 and 22.
Late on Monday (August 14) a horrifying photo and video emerged online. The snap showed five men bloodied and kneeling on the ground, with their hands bound and tape over their mouths. The video showed one of the men frantically attacking another while two others lay dead.
READ MORE: Cartel hitmen force pals to kill each other with rocks in twisted blood sport execution
Heraldo de Mexico reported "family members received a video in which the five young men appear visibly injured and gagged… the video shows the men being forced to attack each other, using stones and a knife".
Blanca Trujillo, the Special Prosecutor for Missing Persons, confirmed the families "believe that it is indeed" the missing men in the video.
Now, investigators have tracked down the farm where the video was filmed. The burned skeletal remains of four people were found at the scene (this comes after one of the missing men's cars was found burned out with charred remains inside).
The Jalisco Attorney General’s Office said the remains will now be tested by forensic teams to confirm the identities.
El Blog del Narco shared footage taken from the farm on X (formerly Twitter). The area where the video of the men was recorded can be seen at the front of the property.
Graffiti is scrawled on the walls inside. It reads "Welcome", "MZ", "A slaughtering is the best medicine" and "A dog that is not faithful was born for Gato". Gato means cat in Spanish but is also a derogatory term for a lower-class person in Mexico.
Jalisco Governor Enrique Alfaro said on Wednesday (August 16) the crime was "clearly linked to organised crime". He added there was no evidence the men themselves were involved in cartel activity.
It remains unclear which cartel group is responsible. According to BorderlandBeat, text on the video reading "puro MZ" ("pure MZ") refers to Ismael 'El Mayo' Zambada – who leads one of two factions of the infamous Sinaloa Cartel.
Other reports have claimed the perpetrators were from the rival Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG).
Cartels kidnapping people and forcing them to kill each other in twisted blood sport is not new.
In March 2011, Los Zetas kidnapped 193 people in San Fernando, Tamaulipas. Some of the able-bodied men were given machetes and hammers and forced to fight to the death in gladiator-like contests used to groom new hitmen.
One Los Zetas member told the Houston Chronicle they called the sick game "Who is going to be the next hitman?"
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