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Gagged bodies found in Mexico

THE bound and gagged bodies of 26 young men were found dumped in the heart of Mexico's second-largest city yesterday, in what experts said could mark a new stage in the full-scale war between the country's two main drug cartels, Sinaloa and the Zetas.

The bodies were stuffed in two vans and a pickup truck abandoned on an expressway near the Millennium Arches in Guadalajara.

Most of the men died of asphyxia, according to officials, though initial reports indicated some had been shot.

The victims, apparently between the ages of 25 and 35, all had the words "Milenio Zetas" or "Milenium" written on their chests in oil.