MORELIA, Mexico – Police found eight bodies in the western Mexican state of Michoacan, where at least four criminal organizations are waging a turf war, state prosecutors said.
The bodies of the two women and six men were found on Tuesday, the Michoacan Attorney General’s Office said.
The victims had been beheaded and their heads found on Christmas Day in the city of Jiquilpan.
The bodies were found in a wooded area near La Palma, a town outside the city of Venustiano Carranza, located near Jiquilpan.
The arrest of five suspected hitmen on Monday night led police to the bodies, the AG’s office said.
The suspects engaged police in a shootout in Sahuayo, a city adjacent to Jiquilpan, the AG’s office said.
The gunmen apparently belong to Los Viagras, the armed wing of the Nueva Familia drug cartel, which was formed by former members of the Familia Michoacana and Caballeros Templarios gangs.
Police found a “narco message” next to the heads in which the Nueva Familia organization claimed responsibility for the killings and said they were aimed at the Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generacion.