A small town mayor kidnapped last weekend in the Mexican Gulf coast state of Veracruz was found dead Thursday, authorities said.

The body of Marisol Mora Cuevas was discovered in the neighboring state of Oaxaca.

She was bound hand and foot and bore signs of having been tortured, both hallmarks of a gangland murder.

Mora Cuevas, a member of Mexico's ruling National Action Party, or PAN, was kidnapped last Sunday from her home in Tlacojalpan, a town of just over 5,000 people in southern Veracruz's Papaloapan Basin region, near the border with Oaxaca state.

The mayor's abduction was denounced Monday by Julen Rementeria, the spokesman in Veracruz for PAN presidential candidate Josefina Vazquez Mota.

The Los Zetas and Familia Michoacana drug cartels have been fighting for control of the Papaloapan Basin, a farming and ranching region.

Veracruz has been plagued by a turf war between rival drug cartels that has sent the state's murder rate skyrocketing over the past 18 months.

The federal government launched "Operation Safe Veracruz" last October in an effort to stem the wave of drug-related violence.

Veracruz, Mexico's third-most populous state, is coveted as a key drug-trafficking corridor to the United States, officials say.

President Felipe Calderon declared war on Mexico's drug cartels shortly after taking office in December 2006, deploying tens of thousands of soldiers and Federal Police officers across the country to combat drug cartels and other criminal organizations.

The death toll in Mexico's drug war stands at more than 50,000 since 2006. EFE