Mexican drug cartel handed out Christmas gifts: report

Mexico City - Mexican authorities are investigating reports that a drug cartel handed out toys, blankets and turkey dinners to residents of a crime-ridden city across the US border.

Local media said the Cartel del Noreste, which goes by the initials CDN, distributed the goods in Nuevo Laredo on December 26 and had placed a sticker bearing a message on every gift.

"On this Christmas, may joy be the best suit, your smile the best gift, your goals the best destiny and your happiness my best wish. CDN wishes you a Merry Christmas 2016," said the sticker, which featured an image of gifts at the foot of a Christmas tree, according to the daily Reforma.

The food consisted of turkey and mashed potatoes.

The CDN is a splinter group from the ultra-violent Zetas drug cartel, which is behind some of the worst atrocities in Mexico's drug war.

The prosecutor's office of the northeastern state of Tamaulipas said it would investigate the distribution of gifts after learning about it through news reports.

While drug cartels have caused grief across the country, they have also sought to cultivate a Robin Hood image in the towns they torment.

In the mountains of the northwestern state of Sinaloa, local residents say drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, who is now in prison, sent toys to children for Christmas.

Residents in the hometown of imprisoned Knights Templar Servando "La Tuta" Gomez in the western state of Michoacan say he also distributed gifts during the holidays while throwing parties and handing out cash on other occasions.