Nine bodies were found Friday on a road in eastern Mexico, officials said — the latest gruesome discovery in a country plagued by drug cartel-related violence. The corpses were left on a highway in the municipality of Isla in the state of Veracruz, state governor Cuitlahuac Garcia said.
The region, which borders the Gulf of Mexico, is a flashpoint in turf wars between rival drug gangs, and one of the country’s most violent states.
Garcia said reinforcements were being sent to the area to hunt for those responsible, vowing “no impunity.”
A message purportedly left by the perpetrators said that the dead included people connected to the Veracruz state interior secretary, Eric Cisneros, whom it accused of colluding with drug traffickers. Garcia dismissed the allegation, saying that Cisneros “will continue working normally.”
Prosecutors would work to identify the bodies but none of Cisneros’s relatives were believed to be among them, he said. The discovery came a day after 10 bodies were found in a sports utility vehicle left outside a town hall in the northern city of Zacatecas.
Cartels are also fighting in that area for control of drug smuggling routes to the United States, officials and experts say. Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Friday described the dumping of bodies in such a public place as a “provocation.”
Lopez Obrador took office in 2018 championing a “hugs not bullets” strategy to tackle violent crime at its roots by fighting poverty and inequality with social programs, rather than with the army.
He has asked the United States to invest in regional economic development instead of sending helicopter gunships and other weapons to take on drug traffickers. He also created a new security force, the National Guard, made up of elements of the armed forces.
Across Mexico, more than 300,000 people have died in drug-related violence since the government deployed the army to fight the cartels in 2006.