In the latest sign of Mexico's out-of-control cartel violence, ten bodies were abandoned outside the governor's office, in a public square lit up with Christmas decorations, in the north-central Mexican state of Zacatecas on Thursday.
According to CBS News, the state governor, David Monreal, said the bodies of eight men and two women were crammed into a Mazda SUV outside his office; all of the deceased had signs of beating and bruising.
"They came to leave them here ... bodies, apparently beaten, with wounds," Monreal said.
Francisco Murillo, the state's chief prosecutor, said seven of the ten bodies died of "asphyxiation by strangulation." He said five bodies had been identified so far. Three of them have a past criminal record.
Murillo said several suspects had been arrested in possible connections to the body dump.
The federal public safety department said a man drove the Mazda SUV to the governor's office, then exited the vehicle early Thursday and walked down the street into an alley.
Zacatecas has been transformed into a warzone in recent years as Sinaloa and Jalisco cartels, and other drug cartels are fighting to control highways in the state used to transport drugs to the US border.
Drug cartels use grisly tactics, such as killing their enemies and displaying them for the public to see as a way to intimidate rival gangs and or even local officials.
In November, ten bodies were found hanging from a highway bridge in northwest Zacatecas.
"What we received was a cursed inheritance" from previous administrations, Monreal said, referring to the high violent crime in the state.
So far, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has had little success in decreasing homicides across the country. There were 31,615 killings in the first 11 months of 2021, a decline of 3.6% from 32,814 in 2020.
Meanwhile, Mexico is suing US gunmakers for arming drug cartels. The country is one of the most dangerous in the world.