Two adolescent boys were tortured and murdered before their bodies were dismembered in a shocking case of cartel brutality in the historic center of Mexico City.
A 14-year-old boy identified as Héctor Efraín and his 12-year-old friend Alan Yair, indigenous Mazahua youths who sold candy and possibly drugs on the streets of the capital’s downtown, disappeared on October 27.
Four days later, police found their remains inside plastic boxes that were being wheeled through a historic center street on a hand truck in the early hours of the morning.
Héctor and Alan, who lived with their families in the nearby neighborhood of Guerrero, were allegedly kidnapped by a member of La Unión de Tepito, a Mexico City crime gang based in the notoriously dangerous neighborhood of the same name.
It appears that the youths knew their kidnapper because security camera footage shows them willingly getting on to his motorcycle.
According to information provided to the Mexico City Attorney General’s Office (FGJ) by friends of the boys, Héctor and Alan had been invited to attend an informal motorcycle race.
But sometime after getting on their alleged abductor’s motorcycle, the FGJ believes they were taken to an apartment building in Cuba Street, located just a few blocks from Mexico City’s central square.
Héctor and Alan were allegedly murdered at the apartment block because La Unión de Tepito had discovered that they were working as halcones, hawks or lookouts, for the Fuerza Anti Unión, the gang’s main rival.
After receiving information that the boys were murdered at the Cuba Street address, Mexico City investigative police discovered plastic boxes that were similar to those in which the remains of the two boys were found.
They also found bloody footprints, several sharp tools including fretsaws and a hose that may been used to attempt to clean up evidence.
A 25-year-old man identified as Baltazar “N” was arrested at the address. He was allegedly a caretaker of the building for the Unión de Tepito.
According to a report by the newspaper El Universal, police found a message on his cell phone in which he told his girlfriend that he was present at the homicide of the Mazahua boys. That is not the only damning evidence against Baltazar “N.”
Government security cameras captured him leaving the Cuba Street apartment building pushing a hand truck with two plastic boxes on it. Inside were the mutilated remains of the two victims.
According to FGJ investigations, Baltazar “N” and a man known as El Chayan had received orders to get rid rid of the remains.
After being tipped off by a halcon that police were in the area, they offloaded the hand truck and its grisly cargo to a man identified as Edgar “N,” a drug addict and cartel errand runner.
Shortly after, the plastic boxes reportedly fell off the hand truck and while helping him to pick up his load, police discovered the boys’ remains.
Edgar “N” gave evidence against the two men who entrusted him with the disposal of the bodies. Information he provided to police resulted in the search of the Cuba Street property.
Two other people have also been arrested in connection with the murder.
Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum described the boys’ murder as “something painful” and a matter to which the authorities urgently need to attend. She said it appeared that their deaths were connected to a “drug dealing issue.”
“It’s unacceptable that criminal groups commit these crimes,” she wrote.
Juan Martínez Pérez of the Network for Children’s Rights in Mexico, an umbrella group of civil society organizations, said earlier this week that the murder of the two boys is evidence of the problem of crime gangs recruiting children in the historic center of Mexico City and other areas of the capital.
He charged that authorities have done “practically nothing” to stamp out organized crime in Mexico City.
InSight Crime, a foundation dedicated to the study of organized crime in Latin America, said in late October that there were signs that the Jalisco New Generation Cartel is expanding its presence in the capital, largely by allying itself with the Fuerza Anti-Unión to take on the capital’s largest criminal gang, La Unión de Tepito.
Members of La Unión were allegedly responsible for a gun attack in Plaza Garibaldi, a square known as the capital’s home of mariachi music, that killed four people and wounded six others in September 2018. The victims were reportedly Anti-Unión members.
The plaza is located just north of the historic center and about two kilometers southeast of Tepito, known colloquially as a “barrio bravo” or fierce neighborhood.