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Mexico drug gang 'behind 67 deaths'

A relatively new drugs gang is responsible for killing at least 67 people whose bodies were found over the course of a couple of weeks in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz, Mexican authorities have said.

Marines arrested eight members of the Jalisco New Generation drug gang on Thursday, navy spokesman Jose Luis Vergara said at a news conference. The suspects later led authorities to 32 bodies left in three houses in Veracruz, a port city that carries the state's name.

Mr Vergara said the gang is also responsible for dumping 35 bound, tortured bodies on a busy boulevard in a suburb of Veracruz on September 20.

The navy appeared eager to dampen speculation that the New Generation gang, believed to be allied with Mexico's Sinaloa drug cartel, is some sort of paramilitary group aimed at eliminating the hyper-violent Zetas cartel.

New Generation members have dubbed themselves "Mata Zetas," or "Zetas Killers," and many of their victims appear to be from that cartel.

Authorities would have ample reason to want to eliminate the Zetas, who have been blamed for the kidnap-murders of three marines so far this year in Veracruz.

Mr Vergara insisted no paramilitaries were involved.

"We stress that this is just another organised crime gang that opposes the Zetas, with whom they are fighting for control of illicit income and criminal activities in Veracruz," he said.

Marines also arrested 12 alleged Zetas on Thursday, including Aquiles Amaranto Cruz Hurtano, allegedly the group's new operations leader in Veracruz, Mr Vergara said.

He said the suspects "presumably were assigned to kill relatives of their enemies" and carry out other criminal activities.

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