Mexico drug cartel slaughter as bodies of 12 men found in truck on motorway

Police in Mexico have found 12 bodies in a truck -- believed to be the victims of a deadly gang war between feuding drug cartels. The bodies were discovered on a stretch of motorway on Saturday morning in the Huetamo region of Michoacan state in central Mexico, 450km from the capital Mexico City. According to official reports, the unidentified victims were found in the back of a red pick-up truck with licence plates for the neighbouring state of Guerrero.

They had been stacked in the backbox of the van and hidden under a cover. Their cause of death hasn't yet been released.

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The truck had been reported stolen shortly before and federal and state authorities believe the men were murdered as part of a drug war between cartels in Guerrero state, even though they were abandoned in Michoacan. Pictures shown in Mexican media show the red pick-up with a large blue tarpaulin covering its back half.

The slaughter is one of the deadliest massacres to have taken place in Michoacan in recent months.

In recent days, videos of alleged torture and executions in the same area have been shared on social media. There are reports of confrontations between members of the Jalisco New Generation cartel and the Michoacana Family. Both drug gangs are fighting for control of the territory next to Guerrero as they look to dominate in the trafficking of cocaine and methamphetamine.

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The Mexican Army and National Guard have launched a joint investigation to find those responsible, but so far no one has been detained.

In a statement, police in Michoacan said: "In coordination with the National Defence Secretary and the National Guard, we reinforced operational actions in the municipality of Huetamo in view of the location of 12 bodies, in a highway section that leads to the town of El Terrero Prieto." Such bloodthirsty tactics are nothing new in Mexico's drug wars.

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In March 2018, the bodies of eight victims were found in a truck in Lazaro Cardenas, a port city in Michoacan state. The bodies all showed signs of torture and gun wounds, while the truck had been defaced with threatening graffiti.

No one was ever caught over the killing.

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In January this year, 10 musicians were burned alive in their vehicles after an ambush by a drug cartel in Guerrero.

The indigenous men were travelling in two vans when they were attacked by the gang members.

Daily Star Online has reported on the Mexican drug cartel hit squad Los Antrax, loyal to former kingpin El Chapo, who dismember their victims and keep the corpses in freezers.

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