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16 bodies found in van on Mexican highway

Chilpancingo, Mexico: The bullet-riddled bodies of 16 men were found inside an abandoned van in western Mexico on Monday, an official said, in the latest gruesome discovery in the crime-plagued country.

The bodies were discovered on a highway outside the town of Coyuca de Catalan in the Pacific coast state of Guerrero, said Fernando Monreal, a deputy state prosecutor.

"All the bodies had wounds from bullets of various calibers. They are all males and at the moment their identities are unknown," Monreal said.

Soldiers and federal police were sent to the area, a region known as Tierra Caliente that has been the scene of murders attributed to a turf war between two drug cartels, the Michoacan Family and the Knights Templar.

Eleven bodies were discovered last month scattered along a stretch of road in the same area, which borders the states of Michoacan and Mexico.

The bodies found on August 26 bore signs of torture and had bullet wounds in their heads. Letters allegedly signed by the Knights Templar threatening rival gangs were found near the bodies.

Some 60,000 people have been killed in drug-related violence in Mexico since 2006, when President Felipe Calderon deployed the military to combat cartels, according to estimates from non-governmental organizations.

 

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