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Top Mexican Surgeons Found Entombed in Concrete Drums

By Molly Moore
The Washington Post

The mutilated bodies of two physicians said to have participated in a fatal surgical procedure on Mexico's most powerful drug smuggler have been found embedded in concrete-filled barrels beside a highway, the attorney general's office said Thursday.

Authorities said they suspect that another mangled but unidentified body - also found Monday in a matching barrel of concrete - may be that of another doctor who assisted in the surgery.

The killings - among the most grisly in recent annals of Mexican mayhem - were reminders of the savagery of Mexico's all-out drug wars, which U.S. and Mexican law enforcement officials say now rival the ferocity generated by Colombian drug cartels and U.S. and Italian mafias of earlier eras.

The surgery - facial reconstruction and liposuction conducted on July 4 - led to the death of Amado Carrillo Fuentes, head of a notorious drug trafficking network. Since Carrillo's death, his syndicate's territory has been swept by a torrent of violence, including dozens of revenge killings, as lower-level chieftains settle accounts.

The bodies found Monday - bound, gagged and encased in 66-gallon oil drums - showed signs of torture, according to the Guerrero State attorney general's office. Officials there said the victims' fingernails had been ripped out and that their bodies were covered with burn marks. Two had been strangled with cables that were still wrapped around their necks, while the third had been shot, they said.

The mystery surrounding the affair deepened further Thursday night, as Mexico's federal drug agency director raised extraordinary new questions about the death of Carrillo, alleging that the two doctors whose bodies have been identified killed the drug lord intentionally. Mariano Herran Salvatti said that the discovery of the bodies - only five days after he said his agency had issued arrest warrants for them - means that his agency is closing its investigation into Carrillo's death.