The discovery of 12 decapitated bodies in the south-eastern Mexican state of Yucatan has shocked Mexico, Yucatan Governor Ivonne Ortega said Friday. ( dpa )
Over the last three months, officials had received threats that bodies would begin to appear in the state if security checkpoints were not removed, Ortega said. She added, however, that she had no plans of giving in to the blackmail.
The checkpoints are part of a widespread effort to curb organized crime and were introduced by President Felipe Calderon in late 2006.
The 12 bodies were found Thursday, barely 48 hours before citizens were to begin protests and marches against increasing kidnappings and drug-related crimes in several cities around Mexico, including Yucatan capital Merida.
An average of 10 people are killed everyday in Mexico and at least three people are kidnapped.
Eleven beheaded bodies were found in the area of Hacienda Chichi Suarez, near Merida. The authorities said they heard of the killings after someone informed local media. The twelfth beheaded victim was found hours later in a different location.
The bodies were not only decapitated but naked, handcuffed and showed signs of abuse. Police didn't say if the heads were also found.
An initial report from the public prosecutor's office said the bodies showed "signs of having been killed with the utmost violence." They did not have bullet wounds and all the victims were between the ages of 25 and 35 years.
Drug runners active in the area are the prime suspects in the multiple murders. The gangs use the Yucatan coast to get large drug shipments into Mexico, either in motorboats or small planes that land in sparsely-populated areas.