Homicides related to organized crime have jumped 47% in Mexico this year, the country's attorney general said Friday in a rare confirmation of how bad the violence has become.
Police later made two gruesome discoveries in northern Mexico. Five bodies, two of them decapitated, were found wrapped in blankets in a city on the border with Texas, along with two heads in sacks. In another state, police found four heads in ice chests along a highway.
Atty. Gen. Eduardo Medina Mora told Radio Formula that 1,378 people had been killed so far this year, compared with 940 in the same period last year.
The statistic reflected what many in Mexico already knew: Drug-related killings have soared.
One of the hardest-hit cities is Ciudad Juarez, across the border from El Paso, where the five wrapped bodies were found on a street corner. A message found with the corpses read, "This is what happens to traitors who align themselves with Chapo Guzman," a reference to reputed Sinaloa drug cartel chief Joaquin "Shorty" Guzman.
Police found the heads in the ice chests outside a highway convenience store in Durango state. The bodies had not been found, and the victims were not identified.