49 mutilated bodies found on Mexican highway in warning to drug gang rivals
Forty-nine bodies have been found dumped on a highway connecting the northern Mexican metropolis of Monterrey to the US border, officials said.
A law enforcement official said the bodies of 43 men and six women were found in the town of San Juan on the non-toll highway to the border city of Reynosa at about 4am local time, but officials were still investigating.
Authorities closed off the highway, blocking the way for hundreds of motorists, as federal and state police, joined by Mexican troops, sealed off the scene.
The discovery echoes several other recent cases in which drug gangs have left bodies scattered in public places as warnings to rivals. Thirty-five bodies were left at a freeway overpass in the city of Veracruz in September. More than two dozen were found in November in Guadalajara.
Just a few days earlier, there were 23 killings in the city of Nuevo Laredo, in Tamaulipas state which borders the United States, comprising nine people found hanging from a bridge and 14 others that had been decapitated.
Suspected drug gang violence has risen across the country this month, with scores of deaths attributed to massacres and clashes with security forces.
Authorities have blamed much of the deadly violence on battles between the Zetas - a gang set up by ex-commandos that deserted in the 1990s - and groups allied to the Sinaloa Federation of Mexico's most wanted drug lord, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman.