Two arrested over hand amputations in Mexico

MEXICO (AFP) - Two people were arrested in Mexico after police found six people with their hands cut off and another one dead on the side of a road, authorities said Tuesday (Oct 18).

A gang left five men and a woman on a road in a suburb of Guadalajara in western Mexico on Monday with their bloody stumps wrapped in plastic and their foreheads marked with the words "I'm a thief." A man who was apparently beaten to death was also left on the road.

Eduardo Almaguer Ramirez, the attorney general of Jalisco state, said a man and a woman were detained at a ranch where the victims said they had been taken after being abducted.

The mutilations were allegedly a punishment by their own gang over a drug-related debt and a warning to other members of the criminal group, Almaguer said, citing the testimony of the victims.

"Their statements indicate first that they did not make a payment related to drug sales and, secondly, that it was to teach a lesson as well as, in their words, spark 'terror' among those in this activity," the prosecutor said.

All the victims have criminal records that include theft and drug dealing, he said.

Drug cartels often leave the dismembered bodies of victims on roadsides in Mexico, making the discovery of six mutilated people alive all the more unusual.

A note signed "anti-thief elite group" that was left with the victims had a warning for thieves as well as anyone who abuses women and children.