Mexico City: The police on Thursday (local time) found nine bodies hanging from a bridge, seven more hacked to bits, and another three dumped by the road nearby in what they said was a gang turf-war massacre that left 19 people dead, including one woman.
The killings, according to prosecutors in the western state of Michoacan, marked a return to the grisly massacre carried out by drug cartels at the height of Mexico's 2006-2012 drug war, when piles of bodies were dumped on roadways as a message to authorities and rival gangs, New York Post has reported.
Authorities said that near the hanging bodies was a banner bearing the initials of the notoriously bloodthirsty Jalisco drug cartel and a threat to a rival gang.
"Be a patriot, kill a Viagra," the banner read, referring to the other cartel, the Viagras.
Two of the bodies were half-naked and hanged by their necks from the bridge and one of the dismembered bodies was a woman, Michoacan Attorney General Adrian Lopez Solis said at a news conference.
"Certain criminal gangs are fighting over territory, to control activities related to drug production distribution and consumption," Solis said.
"Unfortunately, this conflict results in these kinds of acts that justifiably alarm the public," he added.
Mexico security analyst Alejandro Hope said the slaughter was also meant to send a message to the authorities.
"This kind of public, theatrical violence, where you don't just kill, but you brag about killing, is meant to intimidate rivals and send a message to the authorities," Hope said.
"This kind of cynical impunity has been increasing in Michoacan," he added.
Mexico set a record for homicides in the first half of 2019, with 17,608 -- up 5.3 per cent compared to the same period in 2018.