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Mexico drug gangs menace web critics with murder

Sep 15, 2011, 10:42 a.m.

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - A Mexican drug gang this week issued a threat to websites that cover the drug war in a message placed near two mutilated bodies suspended from an overpass near the U.S. border.

A placard warning bloggers to keep quiet was found next to the bodies of a man and a woman hanging from a pedestrian walkway in the city of Nuevo Laredo on Tuesday, an official at the state prosecutor's office said.

"Watch out, I've got my eye on you," the placard said, according to photos from the scene, warning that the same would happen to all Internet trouble-makers. It was signed "Z," a reference to the brutal Zetas drug gang, which operates in the area.

The victims, who have not been identified, were aged between 20 and 25 and were badly mutilated, said the official, who asked not to be named.

Two popular websites covering the Mexico drug war, Blog del Narco and Frontera al Rojo Vivo, were mentioned on the placard.

The Rojo Vivo site, managed by border newspaper El Norte, said all archived material had been cleared from the blog, removing information about contributors.

"From now on, we will only publish specific facts and information about border communities and not personal attacks," read a notice on the site on Thursday.

Drug traffickers often target local media and try to suppress coverage. At least 42 local reporters have been killed over the past five years, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Many newspapers and other media have stopped publishing graphic photos of murder victims or the calling cards that drug gangs use to threaten rivals, the police or public.

About 42,000 people have died since President Felipe Calderon sent in the army to control drug gangs in late 2006.

(Reporting by Patrick Rucker and Michael O'Boyle; Editing by Xavier Briand)

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