MEXICO CITY – Seven bodies were found in fields near Abasolo and Villa de Casas, both cities in the northeastern Mexican state of Tamaulipas, prosecutors said Thursday.
Several burned vehicles were found Wednesday along with the bodies, an official with the Tamaulipas Attorney General’s Office told Efe on condition of anonymity.
“The bodies had signs of torture, as well as multiple bullet wounds,” the official said.
Army troops sealed off the area after the bodies were found.
The bodies were found on the same day that officials announced that additional forces would be committed to the security operation in Tamaulipas and neighboring Nuevo Leon state.
The announcement was made by federal security spokesman Alejandro Poire, Nuevo Leon Gov. Rodrigo Medina and Tamaulipas Gov. Eugenio Hernandez.
Additional army troops, marines and Federal Police officers will be deployed in the two states in an effort to fight drug-related violence.
Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas have been plagued this year by a wave of violence unleashed by drug traffickers battling for control of smuggling routes into the United States.
About 350 people, according to official figures, have died in the gang war in Nuevo Leon since March.
The violence has intensified in the two border states since the appearance in Monterrey, the capital of Nuevo Leon, in February of giant banners heralding an alliance of the Gulf, Sinaloa and La Familia drug cartels against Los Zetas, a band of Mexican special forces deserters turned hired guns.
After several years as the armed wing of the Gulf cartel, Los Zetas went into the drug business on their own account and now control several lucrative territories.
The cartels arrayed against Los Zetas blame the group’s involvement in kidnappings, armed robbery and extortion for discrediting “true drug traffickers” in the eyes of ordinary Mexicans willing to tolerate the illicit trade as long as the gangs stuck to their own unwritten rule against harming innocents.
Nearly 30,000 people have died in drug-related violence since President Felipe Calderon declared war on Mexico’s cartels shortly after taking office in December 2006.
The Mexico City daily Reforma reported recently that gangland killings have topped 10,000 this year in the country.
Calderon has deployed tens of thousands of soldiers and Federal Police officers across the country to combat drug cartels and other criminal organizations.
The anti-drug operation, however, has failed to put a dent in the violence due, according to experts, to drug cartels’ ability to buy off the police and even high-ranking officials.
A large percentage of Mexicans have lost faith in the federal government’s ability to fight the drug cartels, a poll published Thursday said.
Some 62.7 percent of respondents said the Mexican government was losing the war against the cartels, while 21.2 percent said the government was winning and 16.1 percent said they did not know or did not respond, the Milenio newspaper said.
About 71.8 percent of Mexicans, however, said they approved of Calderon’s strategy of taking on the cartels directly, the poll found. EFE