Mexico arrests 14-year-old 'drug hitman'

A soldier escorts the suspect in Cuernavaca December 3, 2010. The boy said he had been threatened with death if he did not take part in the killings

The Mexican army has arrested a 14-year-old boy on suspicion of being a hired killer for a drug cartel.

Officials said Edgar Jimenez, nicknamed El Ponchis, had been trying to catch a plane from Cuernavaca to the US with two of his sisters.

The military alleges that he took part in a number of beheadings under the influence of drugs supplied by the cartel.

Thousands have died in drug-related violence in Mexico in recent years.

The teenager is believed to have worked for the South Pacific drug cartel in Morelos state outside Mexico City, the army said.

An unnamed army official told AP news agency that Edgar Jimenez had admitted taking part in four murders, but had said he had been drugged and threatened with death if he did not participate.

The army source said one of the teenager's sisters was accused of disposing of the bodies, AP reports. No charges have yet been filed.

Surge in violence

The Reforma newspaper quoted Edgar Jimenez as saying: "I felt bad doing it. I was forced to do it. They said they would kill me if I didn't do it.

"I only beheaded them, but never hung [bodies] from bridges, never," he said, according to the newspaper.

Hanging bodies from bridges at busy intersections is a practice among Mexican cartels as a way to intimidate rivals.

State officials say that crimes committed by minors, including murders for cartels, have risen across the country this year.

The South Pacific gang is run by Hector Beltran Leyva, brother of Arturo Beltran Leyva, a top drug lord who was killed by Mexican troops a year ago.

Hector Beltran Leyva's fight for control has caused a surge in violence in the states of Morelos, just south of Mexico City, and neighbouring Guerrero.

More than 28,000 people have died in drug-related violence since President Felipe Calderon began deploying troops to fight the cartels in late 2006.

More on This Story

Mexico's drugs war

More Latin America & Caribbean stories

RSS

Features

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.