Seven bodies have been found dumped in Mexico’s popular Huasteca region, in an apparent case of cartel rivalry.
The group of men were found dead on a roadway late on Thursday with extensive bruising on the bodies, suggesting they had been beaten. According to Mexican authorities, the men appear to have been killed in a different place and then dumped in the rural area.
The corpses had “this is what happened to me for working with the Gulf” written on them, in a reference to the Gulf Cartel, which operates along the United States border to the north. The message was signed “Valles Operation OB”, hinting at a rival gang.
The Huasteca region, with its waterfalls and crystalline rivers, is a popular tourist destination among Mexicans.
Last month, former leader of the Gulf Cartel, Mario Cardenas-Guillen, was extradited to Texas on drug trafficking charges, the US justice department said.
The cartel uses “intimidation and extreme violence to maintain control of its territories in northeast Mexico and smuggle deadly drugs into communities across the United States,” DEA administrator Anne Milgram was quoted as saying by CBS News.
The Congressional Research Service in a recent report noted that the Gulf Cartel was the primary challenger to Sinaloa cartel for trafficking routes in the early 2000s, but is now fighting with its former enforcement wing for territory in northeastern Mexico.
Last week, cartel violence was linked to the death of five high school students and a woman who were killed in a street shooting in Guanajuato state, an area known for gang battles.
In yet another incident, 11 people, including eight women, were killed in simultaneous shooting attacks on two bars in north-central Mexico in May.
Handwritten signs at the scenes of the killings suggested the attacks were part of a rivalry between two drug cartels that have been battling for control of Guanajuato state.