The video released by the matazetas just recently has some new elements to it, and the killing of 35 alleged zetas in Veracruz seems to be a ratcheting up of drug violence. So I thought I'd do a quick recap of the violence, and how it has evolved. I welcome any incidents that I've left out:
2005 – Video featuring La Barbie and his men interrogating, torturing and then killing four alleged Zetas is uploaded onto the Internet.
Sept. 2006 – Five heads are rolled onto a dance floor at the Sol y Sombra nightclub in Uruapan, Michoacan. La Familia takes credit, mentions "divine justice."
This is the first mention of religion in context of drug cartel violence. It is not the first beheading, but it garners much media attention.
Also in late 2006, the head of a decapitated Acapulco policeman is placed on a pike outside of the police station.
2007 - Narcomantas start appearing on overpasses throughout Mexico, often accompanied by dead bodies of rival narcos. Some of the messages taunt rivals, others accuse the authorities (as high up as the president) of collusion with groups like the Sinaloa cartel. Some narcomantas, attributed to Los Zetas, attempt to lure soldiers to the other side with offers of "better salaries and benefits."
During 2007 and 2008, beheadings become commonplace. Dozens of heads, sometimes left in coolers, are discovered alongside roads throughout Mexico. A couple are even discovered at Mexico City's airport.
August 2008 – Thirteen apparent innocents – including several teenagers, a 4-year-old and a 16-month-old – are massacred in the Chihuahua town of Creel.
January 2009 – 'El Pozolero' is arrested. Confesses to having dissolved more than 300 bodies in caustic soda for one drug cartel.
Early 2009 – In Caborca, Sonora, a gang of Sinaloa cartel hitmen kidnap a group of rivals. Limb by limb, they saw them to bits.
Some time also in 2009, the headless bodies of two men are thrown out of a small plane flying over Sonora. Stunned farmers discover them shortly after.
September 2, 2009 – An attack on a rehab center in Ciudad Juarez leaves 18 dead. This would be the first of several attacks on rehab clinics nationwide.
In 2009, there were more than 300 beheadings throughout Mexico.
Around New Year's Eve, 2009: A thirty-six-year-old man is found dead in Sinaloa. His body has been cut into seven pieces. His face has been carved off, delicately. It was later found, stitched on to a football. A note was left with the ball: "Happy New Year, because this will be your last."
August 2010 - The bodies of 72 migrants are found in a mass grave in Tamaulipas.
December 2010 – 14-year-old Edgar Jimenez Lugo is arrested, confesses that he worked as a sicario and participated in four executions.
February 2011 – Sicarios fail to find their target in Ciudad Juarez, so kill his three daughters (aged 12, 14, and 15) instead.
March 2011 – A state police commander in Chihuahua is attacked as she walks her 5-year-old daughter to school; both die of gunshot wounds.
Also in March, a young woman is bound and gagged, shot and abandoned in a car in Acapulco. Her 4-year-old daughter is discovered next to her, killed with a single bullet to the chest. That same week, according to the Washington Post, four other kids are killed in Acapulco.
April 2011 – 193 dead bodies found in a mass grave in Tamaulipas.
May 2011 – More than 180 bodies are dug up at five sites in Durango.
There are more incidents, obviously, but these are the ones that spring immediately to mind.