Mexican authorities discovered a clandestine grave containing the bodies of six people who were presumably killed in shootouts two months ago in a rural area of the northwestern state of Sinaloa.

Considering their advanced state of decomposition, the remains could be those of a group of people killed on April 29 in two clashes in the highlands surrounding the town of Choix, spokespersons for the Sinaloa state Attorney General's Office said.

Those two shootouts, in which rival gangs fought one another and the security forces, left 14 dead - 12 suspected criminals, a municipal police office and an army soldier.

The spokespersons said Thursday's discovery occurred after local residents led funeral home employees to a spot where several bodies had been buried.

The corpses were taken to the Sinaloa city of Los Mochis, where an autopsy and identification procedures were to be carried out.

Sinaloa is the birthplace of the first generation of high-profile Mexican drug traffickers, including Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, the fugitive boss of the Sinaloa cartel and - according to Forbes magazine - one of the world's richest people.

Though El Chapo's mob dominates the drug trade in the western state, challengers have been trying to encroach on the Sinaloa cartel's territory.

Conflict among rival drug cartels and between the criminals and the security forces has claimed more than 50,000 lives in Mexico since December 2006, when newly inaugurated President Felipe Calderon militarized the struggle against the traffickers. EFE