Mexico: Man admits dissolving 300 bodies

Santiago Meza Lopez, 45, center, who allegedly worked for a drug kingpin from the Tijuana area, is escorted by Mexican soldiers and federal police agents in Tijuana, Mexico, on Friday.Guillermo Arias / AP

A man accused of helping a Mexican drug kingpin dispose of hundreds of victims by dissolving their bodies in acid was arrested in the border city of Tijuana, authorities said Friday.

According to a victims group on Saturday, relatives of 100 persons who have gone missing want to exhibit pictures of their loved ones to a man who was recently detained in Tijuana for allegedly aiding a drug lord in dissolving the bodies of his victims in acid.

The Mexican military accuses Santiago Meza Lopez, often known as the “Pozole Maker” after a regional stew, of disposing of 300 bodies for Teodoro Garcia Simental, a rumored former officer of the Arellano Felix drug cartel with a stronghold in Tijuana.

According to Cristina Palacios, head of Citizens United Against Impunity, a group that advocates for the families of missing people in Tijuana, the family have requested permission from the authorities to speak in person with the 45-year-old Meza.

Meza was detained on Thursday and brought before the media on Friday in a cement-block shack where he is said to have dumped many of the victims over a period of years.

Meza was forced to explain how he did it to the media, which included burying any remnants after putting the dead in huge plastic bins filled with acid. Meza told reporters he assisted in disposing of 300 dead while being surrounded by soldiers.

Meza has not been put on trial. Investigators have not named any of the 300 victims they think Meza is responsible for, nor have they offered any supporting documentation.

“We are here because this arrest has given us a ray of hope,” Palacios said after meeting with Baja California state authorities.

Most vanished in eastern Tijuana

Rommel Moreno, the state’s attorney general, stated that Meza will be shown the pictures to see if he recognized any of his victims in them and that the government was considering allowing the victims’ families to meet with him.

The vanished family members’ involvement in drug trafficking was not disclosed by the relatives. The majority of the 100 victims, according to Fernando Ocegueda, whose son vanished in eastern Tijuana, thought to be Garcia’s stronghold, he claimed. Fernando Ocegueda’s son went in February 2007.

The group believes that Garcia “had a lot to do with the kidnapping of many of the people we are looking for,” he said.

According to Moreno, detectives were looking for any potential remains in the hut and two other places. He declared that the California and New Mexico state governments will be contacted by the investigators for DNA testing equipment.

According to Moreno, Meza told investigators that his busiest month was December 2007, when he claims to have disposed of 32 bodies. According to the attorney general, Tijuana likewise saw an increase in disappearances during that month.

Surge of violence

In recent years, homicides and kidnappings have increased in Mexico as cartels fight for control of the country’s drug hubs and hundreds of troops are stationed there.

More than 5,300 people died from drug-related violence last year, which is twice as many as in 2007.

This past month, the U.S. Garcia has been named as Fernando Sanchez Arrellano’s main opponent and the suspected Arellano Felix cartel head by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Mexican authorities attribute the rise in violence in Tijuana to the two men’s power struggle.


By: Miss Cherry May Timbol – Independent Reporter

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