Chilpancingo – At least 23 men and a woman died in drug-related violence last weekend in the southern Mexican state of Guerrero, with most of the killings occurring in the resort city of Acapulco, the Public Safety Secretariat said.
Fifteen of the victims, including a woman, died in Acapulco, while seven others were killed in the tourist town of Zihuatanejo.
The woman, who was gunned down in the Progreso neighborhood, was identified as 32-year-old Maria Elena Parra.
The bullet-riddled bodies of seven men were found tied to a telephone booth at a bus stop near Zihuatanejo city hall.
Police found four messages at the crime scene from Los Caballeros Templarios, a gang created by former members of the La Familia Michoacana cartel, which controls the illegal drug trade in the western state of Michoacan and has been moving into other areas.
La Familia Michoacana has been badly weakened by the arrests and killings of its top leaders and the creation of Los Caballeros Templarios.
The cartel began unraveling after top boss Nazario Moreno's death in a shootout with the Federal Police in December 2010, officials and analysts say.
Servando Gomez Martinez shares the leadership of Los Caballeros Templarios, which was founded earlier this year, with Enrique Plancarte.
The La Familia faction led by Jesus Mendez, who was arrested in June, has been fighting the group led by Gomez and Plancarte, who formed Los Caballeros Templarios in March.
Los Caballeros Templarios, like La Familia, requires members to adhere to a code of conduct and portrays itself as working for the good of the community despite its criminal activities.
La Familia and Los Caballeros Templarios have been fighting for control of Guerrero's Costa Grande region, where Zihuatanejo is located.
A taxi driver was gunned down Sunday in Chilpancingo, the capital of Guerrero, and a body was found at one of the entrances to the city.
Authorities blamed the killings on a turf war between rival drug traffickers.
Most of the killings in Acapulco have been blamed on a war between the Cartel Independiente de Acapulco and the La Barredora gang.