The bodies of eight people were found on a highway outside the Mexican Gulf coast city of Veracruz, officials said.
The corpses were discovered Tuesday in the El Terraplen district along a stretch of highway linking the cities of Boca del Rio – part of the Veracruz metropolitan area – and Alvarado, the state Attorney General’s Office said.
The killings bore the hallmarks of organized crime-related violence in that the victims’ hands and feet were bound and they appeared to have been tortured.
Federal forces deployed to the state since early October as part of the “Safe Veracruz” operation located the bodies thanks to an anonymous tip.
State authorities also arrived on the scene to launch an investigation and take the bodies to a coroner’s office.
More than 150 people have been killed over the past two months in Veracruz state in a turf battle being waged by rival drug cartels, including former allies Los Zetas and the Gulf mob.
The bodies of eight people bearing signs of torture were dumped on Oct. 20 in two areas of the town of Paso de Ovejas, 20 kilometers (12 miles) from Veracruz city.
In an earlier incident that rattled Veracruz residents, 35 bodies were found dumped in broad daylight under a busy overpass in Boca del Rio.
A group calling itself “Los Mata Zetas” (The Zetas Killers) later claimed responsibility for the slayings in a series of videos, saying the victims were members of Los Zetas and that it was protecting society from that gang’s criminal behavior, including acts of extortion.
The Los Zetas mob, a band of special forces deserters turned outlaws, is considered Mexico’s most violent drug cartel.
Elsewhere, a group of suspected cartel assailants killed five men in a poor neighborhood of the northern industrial city of Monterrey, capital of Nuevo Leon state, authorities said.
The slayings occurred Tuesday afternoon at an intersection of the downtown Independencia neighborhood, the Nuevo Leon State Investigations Agency, or AEI, said in a report.
The five men aged 20 to 35 had gathered on that corner when a group of suspected cartel enforcers arrived on board two vehicles and killed them with assault rifle fire before fleeing the scene.
Police and army soldiers cordoned off the area after the attack and launched a search for the assailants, but no arrests have yet been reported.
The victims were identified as brothers Pedro Uriel and Juan Antonio Loera Aguilar, as well as Daniel Maciel Alferez, Juan Gerardo Treviño Segovia and Arturo Hernandez.
Independencia is home to numerous street gangs that have been recruited by organized crime mobs and are fighting for control of retail drug sales and kidnapping and vehicle theft rackets in the Monterrey metro area.
The Los Zetas and Gulf cartels have been waging a turf war for control of Nuevo Leon state since last year and the conflict has left more than 1,500 dead in 2011.