"She didn't want to work anymore, and to make sure she didn't talk, the order was given to kill her," says one of the handcuffed men.
In October, The News profiled Ms. García and quoted law enforcement officials saying they suspected that the radio reporter was helping drug traffickers, was responsible for managing cartel-related news to keep stories from gaining national attention, and had been executed by one of the cartels.
The senior Mexican intelligence official said the DVD "gives you a sense of the sophistication of how these guys work, how sensitive they are to publicity, and how they want to control the news."
Ms. García's mother, Beatriz Escamilla, who had insisted her daughter was not tainted, reacted with shock and dismay when told about the DVD. She said she would like to watch it.
"You hear so much from outsiders about my daughter's alleged involvement that now, with this video, I'm beginning to have doubts," she said. "We hear it, but we don't want to believe it."
In the video, which is time-stamped May 16, the suspected Zetas also discuss a killing that hadn't happened yet – the June 8 assassination of Nuevo Laredo's chamber of commerce president.
At the time, Alejandro Domínguez was head of Nuevo Laredo's CANACO, or chamber of commerce, and was calling for a strong federal presence in the city.
Mexican law enforcement officials say the Peña referred to on the video is Zeferino Peña Cuellar, a ranking Gulf cartel member.
"Peña is going to put us on the CANACO guy to break him because he is causing controversy and calling for the presence of the army, the AFI and other institutions," says a man calling himself Fernando Cruz Martínez. The man, whose identity could not be verified, says he had been in the Mexican army eight years.
Mr. Domínguez became Nuevo Laredo's police chief June 8 and served just hours in the job before being ambushed outside a business office and killed by gunmen who fired three dozen times. Later that week, the administration of President Vicente Fox launched Operation Safe Mexico, sending in troops and federal police to take over law enforcement in the city.
The federal officials removed all of the city's more than 700 police officers on suspicion of corruption. Fewer than half were reinstated.
As the Gulf cartel has battled the Sinaloa cartel for control of the gateway into the $30 billion U.S. drug market, the violence has spilled across the border. On the Mexican side, in Nuevo Laredo, more than 150 people – including some Americans – have died in drug-related violence this year.
The four captives on the DVD indicated that violent death was a routine means of doing business for the cartels' enforcers.
Questioned by an unidentified person off camera, the men casually refer to brutal acts carried out at a "guiso"– a culinary term meaning "stew" or "barbecue" – that has been appropriated for cartel savagery.
One of the men, who identifies himself as Sergio Alberto Ramón Escamilla of Nuevo Laredo, animatedly – almost enthusiastically – describes the process:
"The guiso is when they grab somebody, extract information from him or drugs or money from him, something like that, they take away from him whatever they wanted, whatever he carried that was an offense. After having him tortured he is executed or sent to a ranch or to those places, and there they give him the last shot and throw him into a barrel and burn him with different fuels, like diesel and gasoline."
The News could not verify the man's identity.
Another on the video says he was hired "to pick up people and to kill people because the place [Nuevo Laredo] belongs to the Zetas."
According to the Mexican newspaper La Jornada, the talkative Mr. Escamilla, who appears to be the youngest of the four, was reported missing May 14 by his parents. They told authorities he was arrested by AFI agents and turned over to a drug trafficker called La Barbie, or Edgar Valdés Villareal, said by authorities to be the right-hand man of Joaquín "Chapo" Guzman, reputed head of the Sinaloa cartel.
AFI denied any involvement in the disappearance, according to the paper. Two AFI agents declined to respond to questions in telephone calls from The News.
On the video, the captive Mr. Martínez appears to suggest that there was an understanding between the cartel and the country's attorney general's office, which is known by the initials PGR. He makes the reference while talking about a government move against a deputy of reputed Gulf cartel boss Osiel Cárdenas.
Law-enforcement officials on both sides of the border say the Lazcano and Goyo referred to on the video are high-ranking Zetas.
"Lazcano and Goyo are angry with the attorney general because when there was the operation against Fat Man Mata they were not alerted, and they're thinking about breaking him because they are given a fee, see? And they didn't comply with that," Mr. Martínez says.
"Fat Man Mata," also known as José Guadalupe Rivera Hernández or Eugenio Guadalupe Herrera Mata, was arrested April 27 by authorities with the attorney general's office and the Federal Preventative Police, according to the Public Security Ministry. The ministry said the suspect obtained arms for the Zetas and controlled drug retailers in Reynosa and Nuevo Laredo.
The senior intelligence official, commenting on the DVD statement, said the cartel members apparently "felt they had paid enough money to the PGR to at least be tipped off, and that didn't happen."
No one in the office is mentioned by name. The attorney general at the time was Rafael Macedo de la Concha, who resigned April 27 and is now a military attaché in the Mexican Embassy in Italy.
Mr. Macedo could not be reached for comment, but Mr. Vasconcelos of the PGR rejected that allegation. "We can say without a doubt that Macedo de la Concha is completely clean. I can affirm that with total and absolute vehemently. He's not involved at all in any act of corruption, as is mentioned on the tape."
"Macedo de la Concha saw the Zetas as traitors, deserters who undermined the prestige of Mexican military. That was one of the main reasons he went after them with so much determination."
Behind the camera
For some Mexican experts, one of the most significant aspects of the video is not what the suspected Zetas say, but who is asking the questions.
Two law enforcement officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said they believe the DVD was made – and the four men killed – by current or former members of the Mexican military hired by a prominent member of the Nuevo Laredo community bent on avenging the killing of a close relative by cartel elements.
"The most important factor here is that a civilian hired members of the military to do his dirty work," said a senior Mexican intelligence official. "That's chilling news for the government."
On the disc, the men show signs of being beaten, with bruised and bloodied faces. They are on the floor, apparently beaten and forced to sit in front of the plastic bags, in what looks like the living room of a house. Authorities said the setup is typical of execution sites, with the bags used to contain gore and to transport the men after they have been killed.
The video ends after one of the four captives is executed, but officials said all four men almost certainly were killed. One official said he concluded that military personnel captured and killed the men because of the way they were handcuffed.
Two of the four, who identified themselves as civilians, had their hands bound behind their backs. Two who said they were ex-military had their hands bound in front of them. That would be a standard courtesy that military officers would extend to fellow soldiers, the official said.
For now, the DVD is being investigated by authorities on both sides of the border.
Mr. Vasconcelos said he believes the interrogation was carried out by a cartel competitor whose brother was killed by the Zetas.
"We have several operations under way" to learn more about the video, he said. "We want to know the truth."
News assistant Javier García in Mexico City contributed to this report.
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