The suspects were arrested when police raided two properties in Zapopan, where they found weapons and traces of blood. In the arraignment last week, a judge ruled the three men will be held for 30 days while federal authorities undertake additional investigation of the massacre.
State prosecutor Tomas Coronado Olmos named the suspects last Thursday: Rigoberto Robles Farias, 36, from Michoacan; Jose Trinidad Escobar Salmeron, 38, from Juchitlan, Jalisco; and Jose Luis Herrera Solares, 32, from Tijuana.
Coronado said the men, self-confessed members of the Valencia Cartel, had sought to terrorize the rival Jalisco Nueva Generacion Cartel, following a dispute over drug sales in Jalisco. All are said to have admitted to their involvement in the mass killing.
One of the men, Robles Farias, who said he joined the Valencia cartel in 2009 and was paid 18,000 pesos per month to work as an assassin, reportedly boasted, “I’ve killed 48 people with my friends and associates in Jalisco and Michoacan.”
Robles said he took the victims to a farm, where they were murdered by hanging, and then drove the van in which the disfigured corpses were left beside the Millennium Arches.
Escobar Salmeron, who also confessed to killing two of the victims, said he “had been working for eight or nine months (as an assassin) and was paid 10,000 pesos per month.”
“I was just following the orders of my boss. I only hung two of them ... they told me if I left they would kill me and my family,” he added.
Herrera, who was identified as leader of the cell and manager of narcotics distribution in Guadalajara, is said to have received 20,000 pesos a month.