MEXICO CITY (AP) — A shootout between rival gangs in Mexico City left six people dead and four wounded, and police in the north-central state of Guanajuato found two heads and bags of severed body parts scattered on roadsides in two cities there.
The violent and fast-growing Jalisco cartel has been expanding into both Mexico City and Guanajuato, though it was unclear immediately who was responsible for the killings.
Guanajuato state prosecutors said the gory discoveries there began Sunday, when two severed human heads were found on the side of a highway in the town of Romita. Then on Monday, police in the larger city of Celaya reported finding “several black bags in wooden boxes, a sack and some sheets” containing hacked-up bodies.
“These were found next to a banner and placards with messages referring to organized crime,” meaning drug cartels, the city police reported.
The corpses were so badly mangled that investigators were studying the remains to see how many people they belonged to.
On nearby boulevards, banners signed by the Jalisco cartel appeared around the same time.
In the Mexico City shootings, city police said the gang shooting occurred Saturday outside a business in a rough neighborhood on the city’s north side. Bullets fired in the fray hit nearby businesses as well.
Police said the assailants drove up and opened fire on a group of people outside a food and drinks establishment in the northern borough of Azcapotzalco.
The victims appear to have returned fire, because the alleged assailants’ car had several bullet holes in it when police pulled it over later. A gun was found in the vehicle, and three people riding in the car were arrested.
Police said some of the victims had criminal records, and the newspaper El Universal reported the attackers told police they had been hired by the violent Jalisco cartel to attack a local drug dealer affiliated with a rival gang. The city prosecutors’ office was not immediately available to confirm that version.
Mexico City officials have repeatedly denied that the big drug cartels operate openly in the capital, acknowledging only that they use the city as a shipment point for drugs. But it has become increasingly clear the Jalisco cartel, the country’s fastest-growing and most violent gang, is intent on expanding into the city, as it has elsewhere.
On June 26, some two dozen gunmen ambushed an armored vehicle carrying Mexico City’s police chief; the chief, who was injured, later said the Jalisco cartel was responsible for that attack.