Eight Mexican workers at drug cartel call centre killed, bodies placed in bags
MEXICO CITY (AP) — As many as eight young workers were confirmed dead Tuesday in Mexico after they apparently tried to quit jobs at a call centre operated by a violent drug cartel that targeted Americans in a real estate scam.
United States and Mexican officials confirmed the brutal story that unfolded late last month when relatives of the youths reported them missing after they did not return from work in an office near the western city of Guadalajara.
Suspicions rose last week when heaps of hacked-up body parts were found in plastic bags.
Forensic examiners in the western state of Jalisco said in a statement Monday that tests had confirmed the bodies belonged to the missing call centre workers.
A total of six men and two women were reported missing between May 20 and May 22, but the forensic examiners did not mention the number of confirmed identities.
There had been doubts about whether one of the youths was among the bodies found.
While the families believed their children worked at a normal call centre, the office was in fact run by the Jalisco New Generation cartel, Mexico's most violent gang.
The cartel has branched out beyond its traditional business of drug trafficking, extortion and kidnapping.
Officials confirmed the cartel now operates call centres that scam money from Americans and Canadians through fake offers to buy their timeshares.
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