Eight severed human heads were found Tuesday in the Mexican city of Durango, capital of the likenamed northern state, authorities said.
Police were directed to some of the heads by a series of anonymous telephone calls that began shortly before 7:00 a.m., the Durango state Attorney General’s Office said.
The eight heads were scattered among various roads on the edge of the city, according to a statement from the AG office, which said authorities had yet to find the corresponding bodies or identity the victims.
While some of the heads were found as a result of the phone calls, others were discovered by maintenance workers in city parks.
All of the victims were unidentified men between the ages of 25 and 30, the AG office said. The actual bodies have not been found.
The gruesome discoveries in the state capital come two days after the arrest of the warden at the Cereso 2 prison in Gomez Palacio, Durango, on accusations she allowed inmates to leave the facility to carry out killings.
Margarita Rojas Rodriguez and several subordinates are charged in connection with more than 30 deaths, including the July 18 massacre of 17 people attending a birthday party at a rented hall in Torreon, Durango.
Rojas alleged permitted inmates to leave Cereso 2 prison at night to carry out killings with active help from some of the guards.
The inmates returned to their cells after the crimes.
A guard was killed Tuesday at Cereso 2 amid protests to demand the reinstatement of Rojas.
Sunday’s arrests came days after the appearance on the Internet of a video in a which a municipal police officer confesses to being on the payroll of a crime boss and points to warden Rojas’ alleged role in the Torreon murders.
The video of Rodolfo Najera was made and posted on the Web by Los Zetas, a band of special forces deserters turned hired guns and drug traffickers, and concludes with the cop’s execution.
La Laguna, a region comprising parts of Durango and neighboring Coahuila, is the object of a bitter turf struggle between Los Zetas and the Sinaloa cartel.
In another note Mexico's National Human Rights Commission called on the government Tuesday to find four Mexican journalists reported missing in or near the violence-wracked northern state of Durango.
The journalists include two cameramen from the Televisa network, a reporter for Multimedios television and a reporter for the newspaper El Vespertino.
"The lack of investigation into attacks on journalists has made them more vulnerable in doing their work," the government's rights commission said in a statement.
The four disappeared Monday in the Laguna region, which includes Durango and areas of the neighboring state of Coahuila.
The commission said three of them were "picked up" — a tactic frequently used by drug gangs in which victims are forced into waiting vehicles — around noon Monday, and the fourth was snatched that night.
The area has been wracked by drug gang violence. Prosecutors say officials at a prison in Gomez Palacio — the Durango city where some of the journalists are based — allowed drug cartel gunmen to leave the penitentiary temporarily and provided them guns and vehicles to carry out executions.
At least seven journalists have been killed in Mexico so far in 2010. Many more Mexican reporters have received threats from drug gangs.