An SUV filled with 10 bodies was left outside the office of a Mexican state governor in a public square lit up with holiday decorations, officials said on Thursday.
The bodies were crammed into a Mazda SUV left before dawn near a Christmas tree in the main plaza of the state capital of Zacatecas.
The state governor, David Monreal, said in a video filmed at the plaza that the vehicle contained bodies of people with apparent signs of beating and bruising.
“They came to leave them here in front of the palace,” he said, referring to his offices in a centuries-old building at the Plaza de Armas of the city, also called Zacatecas.
The federal public safety department said a man drove the truck into the plaza, then exited the vehicle and walked away down an alley.
Monreal said security has been a major challenge in Zacatecas and that he would bring down the violence.
“Bit by bit we will recover our peace. What we received was a cursed inheritance,” he said.
Zacatecas has become one of the most violent regions of the country due to turf wars among rival gangs. In 2021, the state registered 1,050 murders, about 260 more than in 2020, according to official data.
The state is a key transit point for drugs, especially the powerful synthetic painkiller fentanyl, moving north to the US border.
Once dominated by the defunct Zetas cartel, Zacatecas is being fought over by a dizzying number of cartels. Those jockeying for turf include the Sinaloa, Jalisco, Gulf and North-east cartels as well as remnants of the Zetas who call themselves “Talibans”.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has been unable to significantly reduce homicides in Mexico. There were 31,615 killings in the first 11 months of 2021, a decline of just 3.6% from the 32,814 in 2020.