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Bodies of 10 people, beaten and murdered, dumped in front of governor’s office in Zacatecas, Mexico

UPDATED: Fri., Jan. 7, 2022

By Maite Fernández Simon Washington Post

Ten bodies, eight men and two women, were found Thursday in a parked van near the governor’s office in Zacatecas in north-central Mexico. The vehicle was parked under a Christmas tree in the state capital’s main plaza, according to La Jornada.

An initial autopsy performed on seven of the 10 bodies showed they ranged in age from 18 to 45, and that the cause of death was asphyxia caused by strangulation. Some of the victims showed signs of being tied by their hands and feet. “Only one of them showed signs that could be consistent with acts of torture,” which would need to be corroborated with a full autopsy, said the state’s attorney general, Francisco José Murillo Ruiseco, in a video posted on Facebook.

So far, police have a partial identification on four of the bodies. Additionally, a 20-year-old woman from Zacatecas has been positively identified by her family members as one of the victims.

Zacatecas Gov. David Monreal Ávila said in a video posted on his official Twitter account Thursday that the people thought to be responsible had been arrested, but declined to give further details because the investigation is ongoing.

The case was also mentioned by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador during his weekly news conference Friday. He said the crime was the result of fighting between gangs and the way the bodies were left was a “provocation.” He said that since a special safety operation was initiated in Zacatecas 43 days ago, there’s been a 25% decrease in murders.

Zacatecas, one of the most violent states in Mexico, registered a 52.2% increase in murders from January to November 2021 compared to 2020, while nationally, the number of murders dropped 2.2% during the same period, according to official data published by Zacatecas’s La Jornada.

The state has been the backdrop of violent fights between rival cartels disputing territory and control of highways to transport drugs to the United States. Ten bodies where found hanging from a bridge overpass Nov. 20. And two men were found crucified in the city of Morelos in July, in what police attributed to organized crime.

In late November, the government announced that 3,848 national guard and army personnel were going to be stationed in Zacatecas to quell the rising violence as part of a federal plan to strengthen the state’s safety.

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