Source: Will Grant, BBC News
In September 2006, gunmen opened the doors of the Sol y Sombra discotheque in Uruapan, in the western Mexican state of Michoacan, and threw five human heads onto the dance floor.
As frightened partygoers looked on, the gang left a scrawled message at the scene, announcing the arrival of a new, breakaway drug cartel called La Familia Michoacana, and walked out as coolly as they had entered.
For many, it represented a shocking new degree of brutality by the country’s drug traffickers. It made headlines around the world.
Francisco Castellanos is the correspondent for the respected Mexican magazine, Proceso, in Michoacan.
He sees the 2006 beheadings as a game-changing moment in the conflict:
“The five were local drug dealers in Uruapan”, he says in an email from the embattled Pacific state, adding that the hastily-written threat left at the crime scene spoke of “divine justice”.
“It generated great fear and terror”, remembers Mr Castellanos, “and then investors started to leave for more secure areas.”
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