MEXICO CITY (AP) — Authorities in one of Mexico’s largest cities said Friday they have found seven bodies with five of them decapitated and another completely dismembered, in a car left in the middle of traffic on a main expressway.

Prosecutors in the central state of Puebla said all of the bodies bore messages supposedly outlining the reasons each were killed. Each was accused of having committed a particular crime, from street-level drug dealing to robbing freight trucks to extortion, prosecutors said.


“On each of the bodies, we found hand-written messages written on paper, each one detailing the reason they were killed,” said Puebla state chief prosecutor Gilberto Higuera.

Higuera did not mention whether the deaths might be related to drug cartels. He said the stolen car was left in the middle of traffic on the expressway.

Mexican flag

Authorities in one of Mexico’s largest cities say they have found seven bodies in a car left in the middle of traffic on a main expressway. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

While vigilantes have sometimes left such messages on corpses, similar signs are far more frequently left on victims’ bodies by drug cartels seeking to threaten their rivals or punish behavior they claim violates their rules.

Higuera was extremely guarded in describing the evidence, but suggested it involved “not only a dispute (between gangs) but also something related to dominance over certain people, aimed at not only domination, but recruitment.”

He did not further clarify that. But some cartels in Mexico, when seeking to establish a territory as their own, will kill off rivals or any petty thieves or drug dealers they find, and leave messages to convince local residents that such activities will not be tolerated under the new cartel.


The grisly killings were striking because they occurred in the relatively affluent and large city of Puebla, just east of Mexico City. Puebla is Mexico’s fifth largest city and had largely been spared the drug cartel violence affecting surrounding areas.

Leaving the bodies in the middle of an expressway also was unusual. Police were quickly alerted to the cadaver-laden car because it was blocking traffic on the city’s main ring road.


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