VERACRUZ, Mexico – Drug-related violence has left 10 people dead over the past 24 hours in the Mexican Gulf coast state of Veracruz, local authorities said.
Army soldiers found four people bearing gunshot wounds and signs of torture inside an abandoned vehicle that had been spotted early Saturday morning in the mountainous central zone of Veracruz.
Also Saturday morning, two people were shot and killed in the Miguel Hidalgo neighborhood of the port of Veracruz, the state’s largest city.
On Friday, authorities found the remains of four decapitated individuals inside black garbage bags along the Boca del Rio-Paso del Toro federal highway in the same port city.
Veracruz has been plagued by a turf war involving rival drug cartels that has sent the state’s murder rate skyrocketing over the past two years.
The Gulf, Los Zetas and Jalisco Nueva Generacion cartels, as well as breakaway members of the once-powerful La Familia Michoacana organization, are fueling the violence in the state.
The federal government launched “Operation Safe Veracruz” last October in an effort to stem the wave of drug-related violence in the Gulf coast state, which is coveted as a key drug-trafficking corridor to the United States.
More than 50,000 people, according to official figures, have died in drug-related violence in Mexico since late 2006, when President Felipe Calderon took office and militarized the struggle against the country’s powerful drug cartels.
Mexico registered 27,199 murders in 2011, or 24 per 100,000 people, the highest number since Calderon took office, the National Institute of Statistics and Geography, or INEGI, said Monday.
The Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity, which poet turned peace activist Javier Sicilia founded last year after his son was brutally murdered by suspected drug-gang members, puts the death toll from Mexico’s drug war at 70,000.