Published: Wednesday 30 April 1997

A prominent environmental group in Mexico city recently accused drug traffickers of poisoning at least 60 dolphins whose rotting carcasses were washed up on the beaches of western Mexico early this year. Homero Aridjis, leader of the 'Group of 100', said that the environmentalists were demanding an investigation into the incident.

Speculation is rife that the dolphins died under the influence of a poisonous substance common among narcotics traffickers operating off the beaches of Sinaloa, which caused death to 409 dolphins two years ago. However, scientists appointed to a special commission in February to investigate the deaths of the docile creatures, are still studying the cause. "They still don't know exactly, because the animals were found in an advanced state of putrefaction, which makes it difficult to carry out the studies," said government spokesperson Eduardo Canto.

The Group of 100 believes that the dolphins were poisoned by a substance commercially known as 'natural killer 19' - composed of cyanide and phosphorescent elements that produce a red glow when mixed in water - used by traffickers to demarcate ocean areas where cocaine shipments are received at night. After the substance decomposes, it releases poisonous cyanide in the water.

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