Municipal police found the badly charred remains of six people inside an SUV in the western Mexican state of Jalisco, killings that bore the hallmarks of organized crime.
Forensics personnel said the bodies – apparently all men – had been mutilated before they were burned, leading investigators to suspect the murders were a settling of scores among drug gangs known for their ruthless tactics.
The SUV was found Thursday on a road that links two villages in the municipality of Atotonilco El Alto.
Authorities were still working to identify the victims.
Jalisco is known as one of the areas of influence of the Sinaloa drug cartel – led by Joaquin “El Chapo” (Shorty) Guzman, Mexico’s most-wanted fugitive.
The Sinaloa mob is regarded as Mexico’s most powerful drug-trafficking outfit, while Guzman appears on the Forbes magazine list of the world’s wealthiest individuals with a fortune estimated at $1 billion.
Guzman remains at large more than a decade after he escaped from a maximum-security prison. He also is wanted in the United States, where the Drug Enforcement Administration has offered a reward of $5 million for information leading to his capture.
The Sinaloa cartel suffered a major blow last year when one of Guzman’s top lieutenants, Ignacio “Nacho” Coronel, was killed in a shootout with army soldiers in Jalisco.
Rival gangs have since been fighting a brutal turf war to fill the void left by the drug lord, who had controlled cocaine-trafficking operations in the states of Jalisco, Colima, Nayarit and part of Michoacan, all located along Mexico’s coveted Pacific coastline.
Seis hombres son encontrados quemados en Jalisco
Descubren seis cuerpos calcinados en Atotonilco