Drug gang turf war dumps dozens of bodies in Mexico truck

Probers say the clash was between the powerful Sinaloa cartel and another gang identified as ‘Chiapas and Guatemala’.

State police maintain a security checkpoint at the entrance of Chilpancingo, Mexico, Thursday, Feb. 15, 2024. Four Roman Catholic bishops met with Mexican drug cartel bosses in a bid to negotiate a possible peace accord, according to the Bishop of Chilpancingo-Chilapa, José de Jesús González Hernández. (AP Photo/Alejandrino Gonzalez)
Spiralling gang violence has killed hundreds of thousands of people in Mexico [File: Alejandrino Gonzalez/AP Photo]

Dozens of bodies discovered in a truck in Mexico have been linked to a violent turf war between rival gangs, according to authorities.

At least 19 bodies were discovered in or around a dump truck in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas, officials said on Tuesday. A recent surge in gang violence related to drug and migrant trafficking has been plaguing the region.

The Ministry of Public Security said the male bodies were found on Monday in a dump truck abandoned on a rural road near the town of La Concordia.

The officials said that the victims were shot to death, and included at least six men carrying Guatemalan identity documents.

The events leading to the gruesome discovery are believed to have occurred on Friday near the border with Guatemala, where violence has been rising in recent years.

An initial investigation said the clash was between the Sinaloa cartel, one of the most powerful in Mexico, and another gang identified as the “Chiapas and Guatemala” cartel.

The ministry said in a statement that the two groups were battling over “criminal control of the border area”.

The Chiapas region is key for the trafficking of drugs, arms, and migrants towards the United States, according to the nongovernmental organisation Insight Crime.

The recent surge in violence has led thousands of people to flee their homes.

It has also pushed the government to deploy an additional 1,200 personnel to reinforce the country’s southern border with Guatemala.

Spiralling criminal violence has seen more than 450,000 people murdered in Mexico since the government of then-president Felipe Calderon launched a military offensive against drug cartels in 2006.

During this year’s presidential campaign, Claudia Sheinbaum – who was elected in June and will take over from Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador in October – was briefly detained by hooded men who stopped her vehicle. She was unhurt in the incident.

Voting was suspended in two municipalities in Chiapas state due to a spike in violence that prevented polling booths from being set up.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies