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Hitman 'dissolved victims in acid' March 25, 2005 news.com.au
MEXICAN police say they have arrested four drug cartel hit men who used acid-filled tubs to dissolve their victims' remains.
Police, who made the arrests in Tijuana, south of San Diego, California, late on Tuesday, said the men confessed to carrying out at least 15 murders for the Arellano Felix drug cartel and to using acid to dissolve some of their victims' bodies.
Police and prosecutors said they found metal tubs of concentrated hydrochloric acid in a raid on a warehouse used by the men in Tijuana, which also yielded 4.5 tonnes of marijuana and an arms cache including 11 assault rifles and ammunition.
Federal police spokesman Abraham Sarabia said authorities believed the gang dumped the bodies of some of their victims in the tubs of the highly corrosive acid in a bid to erase all trace of their crime.
"Hydrochloric acid dissolves the victims bodies in a matter of minutes. It's instantaneous. No remains are found as all that's left just goes down the drain," Mr Sarabia said.
The highly corrosive agent is widely available in Mexico and the US. It has a range of more common applications including etching glass and regulating the chemical balance in swimming pools.
Drug-related kidnappings and slayings have become increasingly common on the US-Mexico border in recent months, as rival cartels battle for turf.
Hitmen generally leave the corpses where they fall or dump them on the roadside.
Earlier this year reports out of eastern Tamaulipas state suggested enforcers for the rival Gulf cartel occasionally fed their victims to lions. It was not clear whether the lions were held in a zoo or in a private menagerie.