MEXICO CITY (AP) — Authorities in Mexico said Tuesday that 13 bodies were found stuffed into two SUVs in northern Mexico, while a shooting attack on a funeral in another state killed five and wounded four.
The violence appears to be part of bloody turf battles involving the Jalisco cartel that has left dozens dead in recent weeks.
Prosecutors in the northern state of San Luis Potosi said the bodies of 11 men and two women were found Monday in two SUVs on the side of a road near the border with the neighboring state of Zacatecas.
Prosecutors said Tuesday that a hand-written drug gang message was found at the scene, and local media reported the message was signed by the Jalisco cartel. One of the vehicles had Jalisco license plates.
Zacatecas was long dominated by the old Zetas cartel but has been the scene of incursions by Jalisco, Mexico’s fastest-growing and most violent gang, as well as the Sinaloa cartel.
In Mexico’s most violent state, Guanajuato, officials said five people were killed and four wounded Monday in a shooting attack on a funeral in the town of Jaral del Progreso.
The victims were apparently there to mourn the victim of a previous killing.
On Sept. 27, gunmen killed 11 people, including four women, at a bar in Jaral del Progreso. It was not immediately clear if the person being mourned Monday was a victim in that attack, which officials said bore the signs of a drug gang killing.
The area is near the border with Michoacán state, which has been a point of incursion for the Jalisco cartel, which wants to move into Guanajuato.
Guanajuato has been the most violent state in Mexico in recent years, but authorities had hoped the detention of a leader of a local gang on Aug. 2 would help stem the violence.
The detained leader of the Santa Rosa de Lima gang, José Antonio Yépez Ortíz, was better known by his nickname “El Marro,” which means “The Sledgehammer.” He had long fought a bloody turf battle with the Jalisco cartel, and authorities blamed him for much of the violence in the industrial and farming state.
While murders across the state dropped slightly to 339 in August from 403 in July, they may be rebounding in September and October as gang members fight to fill the vacuum left by Yépez Ortiz’s detention.
On Sunday, two severed human heads were found on the side of a highway in another Guanajuato town, Romita. Then on Monday, police in the larger city of Celaya reported finding “several black bags in wooden boxes, a sack and some sheets” containing hacked-up bodies.
“These were found next to a banner and placards with messages referring to organized crime,” meaning drug cartels, the city police reported.
On nearby boulevards, banners signed by the Jalisco cartel appeared around the same time.