Mexican Drug Cartels Target Social Network Users, Blogger Beheaded

Mexican authorities discovered the body of a blogger who was brutally slain by drug cartels in an apparent ratcheting up of their campaign against members of the media that now is targeting bloggers and other social media users.

The discovery was made Wednesday in the border city of Nuevo Laredo at an intersection in one of the city’s wealthier neighborhoods.

The blogger, who was only identified by his social media handle, Rascatripas, was beheaded and found with a note attached to his body, according to reports.

"This happened to me for not understanding that I shouldn't report on the social networks," the note read.

The slaying marks the fourth killing of social media users in the past few months. Each body was found with an accompanying note with the same message, the Houston Chronicle reported.

The murders stem from reports and posts on the social media website Nuevo Laredo En Vivo that Rascatripas helped moderate, and its corresponding Twitter page, according to reports. The two accounts served as a main information supply on cartel-related activities.

The brutality of the recent murders has authorities in Mexico tightlipped with details, the Houston Chronicle reported.

At least one other blogger from the website was discovered beheaded in recent months. Two others were found hanging from a bridge in the border city.

The latest discovery sparked a slew of activity across the blogging website and Twitter, calling for more reporting and continued blogging on the drug cartels, according to reports.

The move by cartels to target social media users is the latest step by criminal organizations to control information in a conflict that has killed tens of thousands in Mexico. Violence erupted in 2006 when Mexican President Felipe Calderón unofficially declared war on the drug gangs.

More than 80 journalists have been killed in Mexico since 2000, largely for their role in reporting on drug-related and cartel stories, according to Reporters Without Borders, an international press freedom organization.

Nevertheless, the recent killings of social media users is a new step in the violence plaguing Mexico, which ranks among the worst nations in the world for press safety and freedom, according to Reporters Without Borders.

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