A suspected drug cartel boss who had terrorized Cheran, an Indian community in the western Mexican state of Michoacan, was gunned down, prosecutors said.

Mauricio Cuitlahuac Hernandez's body, which had at least 20 bullet wounds and a shot in the head to finish him off, was found on a road, the Michoacan Attorney General's Office said.

The body was dumped on a dirt road between Ahuiran and Urapicho, two communities in the city of Paracho, near Cheran.

The body of another man, suspected of being an associate of Hernandez, was found on the dirt road.

The second victim was handcuffed and had also been shot several times with an assault rifle, the secretariat said.

A bullet-riddled and burning Cadillac SUV was found near the men's bodies.

The SUV belonged to Hernandez, who used the vehicle in the forested Meseta Purepecha region, where several different Indian groups live, officials in Cheran said.

Cheran, located about 320 kilometers (200 miles) from Mexico City, is home to some 4,500 Purepecha Indians.

The leaders of Cheran announced last year that they would no longer recognize the federal, state and municipal governments because officials could not protect their forests from illegal loggers.

The Purepechas say more than a dozen Indians have been shot dead since 2008 by suspected illegal loggers in cahoots with drug traffickers and several others have gone missing.

Hernandez allegedly ordered the killings in 2008 of 14 Purepechas and was behind the disappearances of several others who dared to report illegal logging by drug traffickers, the Purepecha High Council, which governs the community under traditional law, said.

The federal Attorney General's Office and the army had been looking for Hernandez, who was accused by Cheran residents of being involved in the production of synthetic and other drugs in the Meseta Purepecha.

State and federal investigators have no leads in the drug trafficker's murder, but the army said it captured three men and a woman who were allegedly associates of Hernandez and were carrying marijuana. EFE