CUERNAVACA, Mexico — The decapitated bodies of four men were hung from a bridge Sunday in this central Mexican city besieged by fighting between two drug lords.
A gang led by kingpin Hector Beltran Leyva took responsibility for the killings in a message left with the bodies, the attorney general’s office of Mexico state said in a statement.
The beheaded and mutilated bodies were hung by their feet early Sunday from the bridge in Cuernavaca, a popular weekend getaway for Mexico City residents.
Cuernavaca has become a battleground for control of the Beltran Leyva cartel since its leader, Arturo Beltran Leyva, was killed there in a December shootout with marines.
Mexican authorities say the cartel split between a faction led by Hector Beltran Leyva, brother of Arturo, and another led by Edgar
Valdez Villareal, a U.S.-born kingpin known as “the Barbie.”
The message left with the bodies threatened: “This is what will happen to all those who support the traitor Edgar Valdez Villareal”
Authorities said the four men had been kidnapped days earlier. The family of one of the men reported the abduction to police.
In western Mexico, police found the body of a U.S. citizen inside a car along the highway between the Pacific resorts of Acapulco and Zihuatanejo.
A report from Guerrero state police said the man was shot to death and had identification indicating he was from Georgia.
The U.S. Embassy could not be reached to confirm the man’s identity.
Police said they had no suspects and had not determined a motive.
Guerrero state has been wracked by drug-gang violence, including the strife within the Beltran Leyva cartel. There have also been a series of deadly carjackings this year along highways in the state.
Mexico has seen unprecedented gang violence since President Felipe Calderon stepped up the fight against drug trafficking when he took office in December 2006, deploying thousands of troops and federal police to cartel strongholds.
Since then, more than 28,000 people have been killed in violence tied to Mexico’s drug war.
Nineteen bodies found in Mexico mine shaft
Police in Mexico say they have found at least 19 bodies in an abandoned mine shaft in Hidalgo, near Mexico City.
The security forces said they found the decomposing remains after a tip-off from two alleged members of a drug cartel they had arrested on Friday.
The two men also named nine police officers who they say worked for their cartel, Los Zetas.
The nine have been arrested and are being questioned, while police continue to search the area for more bodies.
They say the two alleged cartel members told them there were more human remains at at least four other locations in the area.
And while turf wars between rivalling drug cartels have been particularly fierce in the north of the country, mass graves are also increasingly being discovered in other states.
In May, police found 55 bodies in an abandoned mine near Taxco, in Guerrerro state.
And on Sunday, four decapitated bodies were found hanging from a bridge in the affluent central city of Cuernavaca.
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