It seems like it can’t get any worse in Mexico’s drug war.
And then it does.
The latest atrocity — 35 corpses dumped in center of the town of Boca del Rio during rush hour Tuesday — claimed a new high in public displays of brutality.
There had previously been 12, then 15, then 20 corpses thrown out into town centers, but never this many.
In this tragically escalating conflict, cartels keep outbidding each other to see who can be the fiercest.
The incident was also especially terrifying as gunmen blocked traffic so they could drive up with the corpses in two trucks. Residents coming home from work had to watch, terrified, and send tweets warning their friends not to drive that way.
As always, details and motives remain murky in the fog of war.
Police identified some victims as criminals with records for extortion and kidnapping. Others had reportedly escaped from nearby prisons before they were slaughtered.
The bodies were dumped several blocks from a hotel where judges and prosecutors from around Mexico met Wednesday to discuss the security crisis.
Were the gangsters deliberately showing the prosecutors how they dispense their own warped form of justice?
Or they were they just sending a new message to President Felipe Calderon to stop attacking their criminal business interests?
A local policeman was also identified among the dead.
Boca del Rio sits on the Gulf of Mexico, home to the Gulf Cartel and their former enforcers, the Zetas. The Zetas have now morphed into a criminal army stretching from the Texas border into Guatemala.
They are also blamed for burning down a casino in Monterrey killing 52 people, and a series of mass pits with more than 200 bodies.
Residents brace in fear at what horror the drug gangs could envisage next.