VERACRUZ, Mexico – The remains of nine people have been found inside garbage bags over the past 24 hours in two areas of the Mexican Gulf coast state of Veracruz, authorities said on Friday.
The bodies were dumped in central and northern Veracruz, a state that has been beset for a decade by violent turf wars involving rival drug gangs.
A first group of four corpses was located Thursday afternoon inside 15 garbage bags in Maltrata, a municipality in central Veracruz.
The state Attorney General’s Office said those dismembered and still-unidentified bodies were discovered in the bags at a site in Maltrata known as El Paso del Conejo.
The Public Safety Secretariat said in a statement that the victims probably were from the neighboring central state of Puebla.
Separately, five bodies were found in garbage bags on Friday in La Higueras, a community in the northern municipality of Vega de Alatorre.
The victims – four men and a woman with apparent signs of torture – had been dumped on an unpaved road.
Over the past decade, Veracruz has been racked by violence that intelligence units of the Navy Secretariat and Mexican army attribute to a fierce turf battle among three drug cartels: Los Zetas, Gulf and Jalisco Nueva Generacion.
Those gangs are vying for control of drug- and migrant-smuggling routes and extortion and kidnapping rackets in a state that has high levels of agricultural and crude oil production and is home to one the country’s leading cargo ports.
Mexico has suffered high levels of organized crime-related homicides dating back to December 2006, when then-President Felipe Calderon militarized the struggle against the drug trade.
The violence is still continuing under current President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who took office last December.
In May, he slammed the “failed policy to confront the violence in the country” and has touted an approach based on addressing the root causes of crime, providing young people with educational and employment opportunities and combating corruption.
A total of 17,138 homicides were registered in Mexico in the first half of 2019 (an average of 95.2 per day), up 7.2 percent from the 15,973 murders registered in the first six months of last year.