THERE’S NO MISSING THE SIGNS that something unspeakable happened in Allende, a quiet ranching town of about 23,000, just a 40-minute drive from Eagle Pass, Texas. Entire blocks of some of the town’s busiest streets lie in ruins. Once garish mansions are now crumbling shells, with gaping holes in the walls, charred ceilings, cracked marble countertops, and toppled columns. Strewn among the rubble are tattered, mud-covered remnants of lives torn apart: shoes, wedding invitations, medications, television sets, toys.

In March 2011 gunmen from the Zetas cartel, one of the most violent drug-trafficking organizations in the world, swept through Allende and nearby towns like a flash flood, demolishing homes and businesses and kidnapping and killing dozens, possibly hundreds, of men, women, and children.

Read the rest at National Geographic.

(Lead image courtesy of Wikipedia)

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