The three-minute video posted online on Wednesday shows five men on their knees with their chests painted with the letter Z. The men are surrounded by masked guards of the Gulf cartel wielding machetes.
reports the video shows each prisoner saying his name at the prompting of a voice from behind the camera. The men are asked who sent them and they respond "Z-40."
According to ABC News
, "Z-40" refers to Miguel Angel Trevino Morales, second-in-command in the Zetas organization. The US has offered $5 million reward for information leading to his capture. "Z-40" and his brother are under federal indictment in Texas on an allegation of laundering of cocaine profits.
The video continues with the narrator saying: "You find yourselves here because you came to f*** us. Pay attention, men."
The men plead for mercy but the narrator says: "This is how all your filthy people are going to end."
The masked men then proceeded to hack and saw at their victims' necks with machetes. The process, according to Daily Mail
, took "two painstaking minutes."
After the gruesome operation, the masked executioners hold up three severed heads to the camera. The narrator says: "Very good, very good."
It is not certain what happened to other two men.
, the website on which the video was posted, said the execution was shot in Rio Bravo, Mexico, on the U.S border just south of McAllen, Texas in the state of Tamaulipas.
The date of shooting of the video is uncertain.
According to ABC News
, the Gulf cartel has been operating from Tamaulipas state since the 1970s. The Zetas cartel used to operate as the Gulf cartel's militia force. Zetas was founded by Mexican soldiers who defected from the Mexican military in 1998 and offered service as hired killers to drug traffickers. They started their own drug trafficking operations in 2010. They are also reportedly involved in diverse criminal activities including kidnapping, extortion and theft of crude oil.
Since the Zetas began their own drug trafficking operations, there has been a sharp increase in violence in Tamaulipas and the neighboring Nuevo Leon. ABC News
reports about 2,000 people were killed in 2010 alone, with incidence of beheading, hangings and other forms of torture high in the region.