Mexico City – The bodies of 26 men were found inside two SUVs and an automobile abandoned on a busy avenue in Guadalajara, one of Mexico's largest cities, prosecutors said Thursday.
The vehicles, which had Mexico City tags, were left at an intersection in the Vallarta San Jorge section of Guadalajara, the capital of the western Mexican state of Jalisco, the state Attorney General's office said.
Investigators initially said 23 bodies were at the crime scene, but they later found three more inside the vehicles, Jalisco Attorney General Tomas Coronado said.
The crime scene is near a supermarket and the convention center where the Guadalajara International Book Fair is scheduled to begin on Saturday.
Police received a call in the early morning hours about the bodies, all of which were "bound and gagged," Jalisco Public Safety Secretary Luis Carlos Najera told Televisa.
The killers left a message inside one of the vehicles, the public safety secretary said, without revealing the contents.
Municipal security cameras are scattered around the area where the bodies were dumped and it is presumed that they captured images of the killers.
Guadalajara hosted the 16th Pan American Games from Oct. 14-30 and the Para Pan American Games ended on Sunday.
No serious incidents were reported during the sports event, officials said.
Thousands of police officers were deployed during the events and criminals have now returned to "their daily work," Najera said.
The Sinaloa cartel operates in Jalisco via an ally, the Jalisco Nueva Generacion cartel.
This was the second mass dumping of bodies in Mexico this week.
On Wednesday, 24 bodies were found in Culiacan and other cities in the northwestern state of Sinaloa.
Police found 17 charred bodies inside two vehicles in downtown Culiacan, the capital of Sinaloa.
Four bodies were found a few hours later in Calomatillo, a town outside the city of Mocorito, and three bodies were discovered in the city of Salvador Alvarado.
Sinaloa is home to the drug cartel led by Joaquin "El Chapo" (Shorty) Guzman, who was arrested in Guatemala in 1993 and pulled off a Hollywood-style jailbreak when he escaped from the Puente Grande maximum-security prison in the western state of Jalisco on Jan. 19, 2001.
The Sinaloa organization, sometimes referred to by officials as the Pacific cartel, is the oldest drug cartel in Mexico and Guzman, considered extremely violent, is one of the most-wanted criminals in Mexico and the United States, where the Drug Enforcement Administration has offered a reward of $5 million for him.
Sinaloa, the birthplace of many of Mexico's drug lords, is currently the scene of a bloody turf war between Guzman and the Beltran Leyva cartel, which arose as a splinter group of the Sinaloa organization.