Fourteen mutilated bodies were dumped in front of a government office in a small town in northeastern Mexico on Thursday afternoon, local authorities said on Friday. It appears to be the latest violence as a result of the country's deadly drug war.
The bodies were found shortly after 2 p.m. local time in a cargo truck which was abandoned in front of the mayor's office in El Mante, a small town located in the southern region of the state of Tamaulipas and about 140 kilometers (87 miles) south of Victoria, the state capital.
The bodies were dumped on a busy street, forcing authorities to move the evidence and the remains to another location. Police said some witnesses reported seeing a man park the vehicle in front of the mayor's office and who then quietly walked away, but the suspect had already left the area when the bodies were discovered.
Initial reports indicate the bodies belonged to eleven men and three women, but their identities were not immediately known. At least some of the victims are believed to have been decapitated and dismembered, and police confirmed a blanket with a message from the murderers was found inside the vehicle. The content of the message was not released.
Last month, on May 4, the bodies of 23 people were dumped in Nuevo Laredo, which borders Laredo, Texas and is also in Tamaulipas. Fourteen of the bodies were mutilated while the other nine were left hanging from a bridge in the area. The gruesome incident was linked to Los Zetas drug cartel, which has carried out numerous violent acts throughout the region since separating from the Gulf Cartel in March 2010.
As the Mexican drug war continues, the country's Attorney General office (PGR) has said at least 12,903 drug-related killings were reported between January and September 2011, although figures for the entire year are not yet available. This will likely bring the total figure for 2011 to more than 17,000, the highest annual number yet.