Six bodies found hanging in violence-ridden Mexican state

The state of Zacatecas has seen an increase in violence this year as cartels jockey for control of drug smuggling routes.

Members of Mexico's national guard patrol the Zacatecas-Fresnillo highway after a series of clashes between criminal groups [File: Marco Ugarte/AP]

The bodies of six people have been found hanging from a bridge and a tree in an area of northern Mexico shaken by cartel turf wars.

The discoveries were made in Fresnillo in the state of Zacatecas on Tuesday, where rival gangs have long battled for control of drug smuggling routes to the United States.

Three corpses were found suspended from a pedestrian bridge and three others were strung up in a tree, the state security department said.

Two more bodies were located on a piece of land in Fresnillo, authorities said, without specifying whether they were also found hanging. The tactic is often used by gangs to intimidate rivals.

Zacatecas, once dominated by the old Zetas cartel, is being fought over by a dizzying number of cartels. Those jockeying for turf in Zacatecas include the Sinaloa, Jalisco, Gulf and Northeast cartels as well as remnants of the Zetas.

The state has seen an increase in violence this year.

At least 948 people were killed by violence in Zacatecas in the first 10 months of 2021, according to official data, some 342 more than in the same period a year earlier.

Last week, 10 bodies were discovered on a highway in Zacatecas, of which nine were suspended from a bridge, prompting the dismissal of the state security chief.

In June, the bullet-ridden bodies of 18 men were found in Valparaiso in Zacatecas state, in what authorities said appeared to be the aftermath of a gun battle between the Sinaloa and Jalisco cartels.

Across Mexico, more than 300,000 people have been killed in a wave of bloodshed since the government deployed the army to fight drug cartels in 2006.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies