Oddly Enough

Killers wrap victim in Christmas paper

TIJUANA, Mexico (Reuters) - Suspected drug gang hitmen killed a man in the seedy northern Mexican border city of Tijuana and wrapped him in Christmas gift-wrap in one of the more unusual of Mexico’s daily rash of murders.

The victim, in his 40s but not yet identified, was found dumped in a patch of wasteland Sunday, bundled up in bedsheets. Police unwrapped the sheets to find he had been taped up in festive wrapping paper with a Christmas tree motif.

The man’s eyes were taped over and his body showed two bullet wounds and signs of torture and strangulation, typical of the victims of gangland-style killings that are found in Mexico on a daily basis, local prosecutors said.

“We are not ruling out that this is a message related to organized crime,” a spokesman for the local attorney general’s office said, but stressed the investigation was still in the early stage.

Mexico is in the grip of a bloody turf war between rival drug cartels that is killing some half-a-dozen people every day, keeping up last year’s relentless pace of violence.

A crackdown by thousands of troops and federal police sent to trouble spots by President Felipe Calderon has not curbed the violence so far, and murders of police and, most recently, soldiers, are on the rise.

Suspected drug hitmen killed a top official at the national attorney general’s office Monday, shooting him in the face while he was driving to work in Mexico City.

The chief of the AFI elite police force in northwestern Baja California state was also found dead Monday with gunshot wounds and his severed finger placed on his chest.

Another man was found by a highway in northern Mexico wrapped in plastic, his hands tied, and a message on his body that appeared to be a warning to the Gulf cartel, media said.