Police find 17 bodies in western Mexico

Published September 16, 2012


At least 17 bodies were found Sunday on the Guadalajara-Morelia highway in the western Mexican state of Jalisco, state prosecutors said.

Police in Tizapan el Alto, a city near the border with Michoacan state, found the bodies of the men, who had been bound with ropes and chains, and shot, near the highway, the Jalisco Attorney General's Office said.

The men may have been murdered in Michoacan and dumped in Jalisco by members of an unidentifed criminal organization, the AG's office said.

The victims were dumped in a field near the limits of Michoacan, Jalisco Attorney General Tomas Coronado Olmos said.

Crime scene specialists are gathering evidence and will release more information in the next few hours.

Tizapan el Alto was the scene of a shootout last Monday between gunmen and municipal police that left two people dead and two others wounded.

The shootout started when the gunmen tried to kidnap someone in the city.

The remains of 18 people, including some who were dismembered, were found in May in two SUVs near Guadalajara, the capital of Jalisco.

The killings were blamed on Los Zetas, considered Mexico's most violent drug cartel, but the La Resistencia gang may also have participated.

The bodies of 26 people were discovered on Nov. 24 inside three vehicles abandoned on a main thoroughfare in Guadalajara, Mexico's second-largest city.

Officials later blamed that slaughter on Los Zetas.

Sixteen bodies were found on Friday in Tamaulipas, a state in northeast Mexico, with seven bodies discovered in the city of San Fernando and the other nine left hanging off a bridge in Nuevo Laredo, located across the Rio Grande from Laredo, Texas.

After several years as the armed wing of the Gulf cartel, Los Zetas went into the drug business on their own account and now control several lucrative territories.

More than 50,000 people, according to official figures, have died in drug-related violence in Mexico since late 2006, when President Felipe Calderon took office and declared war on the country's powerful drug cartels.

Calderon has deployed tens of thousands of soldiers and Federal Police officers across the country to combat drug cartels and other criminal organizations.

The use of the armed forces to fight drug traffickers, however, has failed to stem the violence.

Mexico registered 27,199 murders in 2011, or 24 per 100,000 people, the highest number since Calderon took office, the National Institute of Statistics and Geography, or INEGI, said in a report released on Aug. 20.

The Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity, which was founded by human rights activist and poet Javier Sicilia, puts the death toll from Mexico's drug war at 70,000. EFE