Last Friday, the body of 36-year-old Hugo Hernandez was found in seven pieces on the streets of Los Mochis along with a threat from one drug cartel to another: “Happy New Year, because this will be your last.” As if dismembering his body weren’t sick enough, his kidnappers also skinned his face and stitched it onto a soccer ball.
Hernandez was abducted Jan. 2 in Sonora State and then taken to Sinaloa where his body was found. His torso was discovered in a plastic container in one spot, his arms, legs and skull in another and the gruesome ball was left in a plastic bag near City Hall.
Since President Felipe Calderon waged a war against drug cartels in late 2006, more than 15,000 people have been killed. Last year was its bloodiest yet with more than 6,500 drug-related deaths, but 2009 is already off to a chilling start. On Saturday, 69 murders were reported on that day alone throughout the country, including 26 in Ciudad Juarez, 13 in and around Mexico City and 10 in Chihuahua.