Authorities found 26 bodies Thursday inside three abandoned vehicles in Guadalajara, Mexico, an official said. All the victims were men, said Ulises Enríquez, a spokesman for the Jalisco delegation of the Attorney General’s Office. The vehicles were discovered near a monument on one of the city’s main avenues.
Jalisco state Attorney General Tomas Coronado Olmos told CNN affiliate TV Azteca that a message was found with the bodies, but he did not disclose what it said. The discovery came a day after authorities in Sinaloa state found 16 charred bodies inside two trucks that had been set ablaze.
Speaking about those bodies and also those found in Guadalajara, Mexico’s new interior minister, Alejandro Poiré, promised to provide federal support.
About 43,000 people have been killed in drug-related violence since Mexican President Felipe Calderon announced a crackdown on cartels in December 2006, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. But brutal cartel killings are rare in Guadalajara, Mexico’s second-most populous city.
The city recently hosted the Pan American Games and is scheduled to host a large international book festival next week a few miles away from where the bodies were found.
In a security report published before the games began, analysts said Guadalajara would probably be the next hot spot in Mexico’s drug war, as the Zetas drug cartel tries to take over turf long dominated by the Sinaloa cartel.
The analysis, published in September by Southern Pulse, an online information network focused on Latin America, noted that major offensives were unlikely amid stepped-up security in the city during the high-profile sporting event.