Municipal officials - including the mayor - have been arrested in connection with the discovery of charred corpses. The attorney general is investigating the grisly find and says witnesses have implicated officials.
A Mexican mayor and four police officers were arrested in connection with the murder of 10 people whose bodies were burned, state officials said Monday.
Michoacan Governor Silvano Aureoles said the mayor of the municipality of Alvaro Obregon, the police chief, his deputy, and an investigator have been detained for questioning about the deaths.
Witnesses said Mayor Juan Carlos Arreygue had ordered his police force to detain the group and that he was present when they were arrested, Aureoles told reporters.
"After the arrests, under instructions from the mayor, the civilians were secured, subdued and forced into a van," Attorney General Jose Martin Godoy, citing unidentified witnesses, told reporters. "Then, they took the bodies to a field in the municipality of Cuitzeo where they set them on fire."
Mexico's state-run energy firm said the area is rife with illegal taps in pipelines across Mexico. But it remained unclear whether the dispute may have had something to do with the illegal siphoning of fuel by criminal gangs.
Corrupt municipal authorities under fire
Mexico's municipal authorities have been under increased scrutiny since local police in the state of Guerrero allegedly abducted 43 students and handed them over to a drug cartel that killed them and incinerated their bodies.
The mayor of the city of Iguala, who remains in jail, was accused of ordering police to confront the students who had been protesting over job discrimination against teachers from a rural background.
Mexican security forces have faced a slew of allegations of human rights abuses since the region'sbloody battle against drug trafficking escalated in 2006 with the deployment of armed forces across the region.
jar/kl (AFP, Reuters)