The Houston Chronicle talked to a cartel trafficker this weekend, "in an interview arranged by intermediaries on the condition neither his name nor the location of his Texas visit be published." Anonymous Trafficker has either witnessed the most sadistic crimes imaginable, or is totally fucking with us:

The elderly are killed. Young women raped. And able-bodied men are given hammers, machetes and sticks and forced to fight to the death.

In one of the most chilling revelations yet about the violence in Mexico, a drug cartel-connected trafficker claims fellow gangsters have kidnapped highway bus passengers and forced them into gladiator-like fights to groom fresh assassins.

It's all part of an exciting new contest called Mexico's Next Top Hit Man. No, seriously:

Members of the Zetas cartel, he says, have pushed passengers into an Ancient Roman-like blood sport with a modern Mexico twist that they call, "Who is going to be the next hit man?"

"They cut guys to pieces," he said.

The trafficker said those who survive are taken captive, and eventually given suicide missions, such as riding into a town controlled by rivals and shooting up the place.

Since hundreds of mangled bodies were recently discovered in a mass grave near the Texas border, the Chronicle's law enforcement sources say "Who is going to be the next hit man?" is within the realm of possibility. [Houston Chronicle, image of border patrol in the Sonoran Desert via Getty]