Mexican authorities found 17 more mutilated bodies over the month of December near the US border.
Thirteen of the bodies were discovered in two abandoned vehicles in two separate cities in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, bordering Texas. Four of the bodies were found hanging in public in the Mexican state of Coahuila, which also borders Texas.
The first vehicle contained the dismembered bodies of two women and three men. The mutilated corpses were in an abandoned potato chip delivery truck that had been left in a supermarket parking lot. Authorities said a threatening letter was left with the bodies from the Gulf Cartel.
The second vehicle was discovered in the town of Soto la Marina and contained an additional eight bodies. Authorities said these bodies also contained a note claiming the dead were members of affiliates of the Gulf Cartel.
Mexican authorities in the state of Coahuila, bordering both Tamaulipas and Texas, found an additional four bodies hanging from an overpass in the city of Saltillo. Authorities said the four bodies showed signs of torture and the hands and feet were bound with duct tape. There were no visible gunshot wounds; the cause of death has yet to be determined.
The Mexican government estimates the number of cartel-related deaths to be over 30,000. Human rights groups estimate the number of missing persons in the conflict amounts to over 25,000.