MEXICO CITY (AP) — Assailants left 10 beaten, murdered bodies in front of the governor’s office in the north-central Mexican state of Zacatecas on Thursday.
The bodies of eight men and two women were found crammed into a pickup truck left before dawn near a Christmas tree in the main plaza of the state capital, also named Zacatecas.
Gov. David Monreal said he was starting work when he got word of the grisly discovery.
“They came to leave them here … bodies, apparently beaten, with wounds,” Monreal said.
Francisco Murillo, the state’s chief prosecutor, said seven of the 10 bodies had been autopsied and all died of “asphyxiation by strangulation.” Six had injuries suggesting they had their feet and hands bound. One showed possible signs of torture.
Murillo said that of the five bodies identified so far, three had been detained previously on drug or robbery charges.
He said several suspects had been arrested in connection with the body dump, but refused to give more details.
The federal Public Safety Department said a man drove the truck onto the plaza, then exited the vehicle and walked away down an alley.
The department said federal agencies were sending reinforcements to Zacatecas to help in the investigation.
Zacatecas, which has one of the highest per-capita homicide rates in Mexico, is a key transit point for drugs, especially the powerful synthetic painkiller fentanyl, moving north to the U.S. border. The Sinaloa and Jalisco New Generation cartels have been battling for control in the largely rural state through alliances with local gangs.
“What we received was a cursed inheritance” from previous administrations, Monreal said.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has been unable to significantly reduce homicides in Mexico. There were 31,615 killings in the first 11 months of 2021, a decline of just 3.6% from the 32,814 in 2020.