An undetermined number of hacked-up bodies have been found in two vehicles abandoned on a bridge in Mexico’s Gulf coast state of Veracruz, prosecutors said Monday. A banner left on one of the vehicles included an apparent warning message from a powerful.
The bodies were found Sunday in the city of Tuxpan, not far from the Gulf coast. The body parts were apparently packed into Styrofoam coolers aboard the two trucks.
A printed banner left on the side of one truck containing some of the remains suggested the victims might be Guatemalans, and claimed authorship of the crime to “the four letters” or The Jalisco New Generation Cartel, often referred to by its four initials in Spanish, CJNG.
Prosecutors said police found “human anatomical parts” in the vehicles, and that investigators were performing laboratory tests to determine the number of victims.
A photo of the banner published in local media showed part of it read “Guatemalans, stop believing in Grupo Sombra, and stay in your hometowns.”
Grupo Sombra appears to be a faction of the now-splintered Gulf cartel, and is battling Jalisco for turf in the northern part of Veracruz, including nearby cities like Poza Rica.
“There will be no impunity and that those responsible for these events will be found,” the Attorney General’s Office of the State of Veracruz said in a social media post.
There have been instances in the past of Mexican cartels, and especially the CJNG, recruiting Guatemalans as gunmen, particularly former special forces soldiers known as “Kaibiles.”
“Settling of scores”
The Veracruz state interior department said the killings appeared to involve a “settling of scores” between gangs.
“This administration has made a point of not allowing the so-called ‘settling of scores’ between criminal gangs to affect the public peace,” the interior department said in a statement. “For that reason, those responsible for the criminal acts between organized crime groups in Tuxpan will be pursued, and a reinforcement of security in the region has begun.”
Veracruz had been one of Mexico’s most violent states when the old Zetas cartel was fighting rivals there, and it continues to see killings linked to the Gulf cartel and other gangs.
The state has one of the country’s highest number of, where the cartels dispose of their victims.
Discoveries of mutilated bodies dumped in public or hung from bridges with menacing messages have increased in Mexico in recent years as criminal gangs seek to intimidate their rivals.
Last July, a violent drug cartel was suspected of leaving a severed human leg found hanging from a pedestrian bridge in Toluca, just west of Mexico City. The trunk of the body was left on the street below, near the city’s center,signed by the Familia Michoacana cartel. Other parts of the bodies were found later in other neighborhoods, also with handwritten drug cartels signs nearby.
In 2022, thewere reportedly discovered on top of a Volkswagen in southern Mexico, along with a warning sign strung from two trees at the scene.
That same year, thewere found dumped on a roadway in the Huasteca region. Writing scrawled in markers on the corpses said “this is what happened to me for working with the Gulf,” an apparent reference to the Gulf Cartel.
AFP contributed to this report.