The drug lords behind Mexico’s deadly turf war

Monique Ross
ABC

A bloody war that has exploded between rival drug cartels in Mexico made international headlines this month after the gruesome discovery of 23 bodies in a border city.

Fourteen headless bodies were found in a car in the city of Nuevo Laredo, while another nine were found hanging from a bridge.

The conflict centres on the rivalry between the Gulf, Los Zetas and Sinaloa cartels, all of whom want to control the lucrative smuggling route between South America and the cities of the United States.

The trade is worth between $19 billion and $29 billion a year, according to the FBI, and has resulted in the deaths of at least 50,000 people since 2006.

And the violence is escalating. According to a Wall Street Journal report, 22,000 people have been killed since 2010 – that is one death every 35 minutes.

How much do you know about the three main cartels at the centre of the turf war?

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