The merciless New Generation cartel abducted the three young men after mistaking them for rival gang members, according to prosecutors in the western state of Jalisco.
Javier Salomon Aceves, 25, Daniel Diaz, 20, and Marco Avalo, 20, were filming a school project at their aunt's house, which happened to be used by the rival Nueva Plaza faction.
The students' fate horrified Mexico and prosecutors said they were killed and their bodies dissolved in acid.
The killing appeared to be a case of mistaken identity.
Prosecutors said the New Generation cartel lookouts who were watching the house mistook the students for rival gang members and abducted them on a road after they left the property.
They then said the gang took the students to a safe house and interrogated them before killing them.
The gang beat one student so badly he died, leading them to kill the other two, officials said.
They then took them to another house, where prosecutors found jugs and tubs of sulphuric acid.
Traces of blood and the DNA of two of the students were found at the houses.
Prosecutors said: "Without knowing it, the students were in a very dangerous place which was being watched by hitmen from the New Generation cartel."
Two suspects have been arrested and several others are being sought.
Officials close to the investigation said one of the suspects arrested is a local rapper who has some following on social media.
Investigators also found fake detectives' credentials at the houses, and prosecutors said the killers apparently posed as cops when they pulled the students over.
One gang leader had already been arrested at the aunt's house in 2015 and police had received reports of armed men hanging out at the property in 2017.
Human rights chief Luis Gonzalez Perez said: "The effects of crime and violence against any person is bad enough, but it is worse when it is a case of young people who have a future."
Condolences for the victims' families also came in from the country's film institute and candidates in the July 1 presidential elections.
Oscar-winning Mexican director Guillermo del Toro said: "Words can't describe the dimension of this madness.
"Three students are killed and dissolved in acid. The 'why' is unthinkable, the 'how' is terrifying."
Source: Read Full Article