More than a dozen mutilated bodies have been found in a drug-crime "zone" of Mexico bordering the US, according to reports. The development comes with Mexico only weeks away from a presidential election.
Fourteen dismembered bodies were discovered Thursday in an abandoned truck in northeastern Mexico in what appeared to be the latest bloody episode in the battle between rival gangs over drug smuggling routes.
A police officer found the corpses of 11 men and three women in the illegally parked vehicle in the sugar-cane farm town of Ciudad Mante of Tamaulipas state, which is on the border of Texas, local media reported. Police also came across a blanket at the scene which held a message from the perpetrators of the violence, but officials gave no more details.
The state attorney general's office was not able to immediately confirm the reports.
Not the first violent development
The Tamaulipas state is no stranger to possible drug-related violence. The region has hosted a bloody turf war between the Zetas and the Gulf drug cartel for some time. Although the two groups worked in cooperation in the 1990s, with the Zetas serving the Gulf as hired guns, they later splintered to form their own group. In May, nine bodies were left hanging from a bridge and 14 other mutilated corpses were discovered in Nuevo Laredo, a city in Tamaulipas state. And in April, police discovered 10 bodies, some of them mutilated, in Ciudad Mante.
Violence has also continued in other parts of Mexico - 49 decapitated and mutilated bodies were dumped in May on a highway close to the northern city of Monterrey. Eighteen corpses were also uncovered near Mexico's second city, Guadalajara, not long before.
More than 50,000 people have been killed since Mexican President Felipe Calderon sent the military into Mexico's drug crime hotspots in December 2006, not long after taking office.
Calderon's right-leaning National Action Party (PAN) is tipped to be ousted in the country's presidential election due to take place July 1, partly because of voter anger at the endlessly spiralling bloodshed.
sej/tj (AFP, Reuters)