Mexican authorities have apprehended a drug cartel kingpin in connection with the grisly murders of 49 people whose bodies were found last week strewn along a Mexican highway decapitated and dismembered.
His name is Daniel Jesus Elizondo Ramirez -- but he also goes by the more fitting nickname "El Loco" or "The Crazy One." A prominent member of the notorious Zetas cartel, Elizondo is believed to have helped coordinate and carry out the massacre and body dump.
The bodies were found on May 13 with no heads, hands or feet on a highway that connects Mexico to the United States.
Elizondo was arrested in Nuevo Leon on Friday, The Daily Mail reports. But that doesn't mean he went quietly. When authorities tried to apprehend him, he fired at army troops and even tossed a hand grenade at them in an attempt to escape.
The Daily Mail has more:
Elizondo headed the Zetas trafficking operations in the town of Cadereyta, close to where the bodies were dumped.
Officials say he was ordered to leave the bodies in the town square by gang leaders known as 'The Shrimp' and 'The Speaker,' who are both still at large.
However, Elizondo became nervous and dumped them on a nearby highway instead.
He is being held without charge at a special detention facility while prosecutors build their case against him.
The Associated Press reports that Elizondo has also confessed to the additional killings of rival Gulf cartel members and "burning or burying their bodies in another area of Nuevo Leon."
The massacre is among the most heinous crimes committed since Mexican President Felipe Calderon came to power and declared war on the drug cartels in 2006. Since then, about 55,000 have been killed in drug related violence and roughly 5,000 have disappeared.
The Zetas tagged the crime scene with their mark, appearing to claim responsibility for the killings. Further, a video posted on a Mexican website showed "gunmen in the dark dumping the bodies," according to The AP.
Live Leak currently has a video posted on their website which they claim shows members of the Zeta cartel handling the 49 dismembered corpses. (WARNING: The video is extremely graphic. Click photo below to watch.)
The disturbing video shows a large number of decapitated corpses with no hands or feet piled on top of each other in what looks like some sort of dump truck. As the clip rolls on and day turns to night, you can see several figures moving about in the shot before a man is seen using a long stick to get a corpse out into the street. The images are disturbing.
The video was originally posted on You Tube by a "self-proclaimed" Zeta last week, according to Live Leak. It appears that the video has since been taken down from the popular video-sharing site.
Zeta leaders also left a message to rival gangs and well as the Mexican Army at the crime scene: "Gulf cartel, Sinola cartel, marines and soldiers, nobody can do anything against us or they will lose."
Shortly after the corpses were discovered, however, banners surfaced in other Mexican states denying that the Zetas were behind the killings. Authorities say it was part of a Zetas tactic to "cause confusion among authorities and the public" while shifting blame to their enemies.
As for the victims, identifying them will be difficult without heads, hands or feet. Still, the bodies could be identified with DNA samples. As of 10 a.m. on Tuesday, none of the victims had been named.
Drug cartels are increasingly using beheadings and body mutilation to intimidate and silence their opposition, which some claim is a reflection of a documented alliance formed between radical Islam groups like Hezbollah and the cartels.