CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico – The dismembered bodies of two men were found in a busy street in Ciudad Juarez, a border city in northern Mexico, and their heads inside two coolers, police said.
Body parts, including arms and legs, were left in the street, Ciudad Juarez municipal police spokesman Adrian Sanchez said.
“The dismembered parts were found in the middle of the avenue and a few meters away, next to a church, the heads were found inside two coolers. The criminals left a message from a criminal organization on top of them,” Sanchez told Efe.
The victims have not been identified and authorities have not determined the motive for the killings.
Ciudad Juarez, located across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas, has been plagued by a wave of drug-related violence in recent years blamed on a war for control of smuggling routes into the United States being waged by the Juarez and Sinaloa cartels with backing from hitmen from local street gangs.
Nearly 10,000 people have been murdered in the border city since 2008.
The murder rate took off in Juarez, a city of 1.2 million people, in 2007, when 310 people were killed, then it more than tripled to 1,607 in 2008, according to Chihuahua state Attorney General’s Office figures, with the number of killings climbing to 2,754 in 2009.
More than 3,100 people were murdered in the border city last year, making 2010 the worst year since a war between rival drug gangs sent the homicide rate skyrocketing in 2008.
The violence has not subsided in Ciudad Juarez despite the deployment of thousands of soldiers and Federal Police officers in the border city.
A total of 15,270 people died in drug-related violence in Mexico last year, and more than 40,000 people have died since President Felipe Calderon declared war on the country’s cartels shortly after taking office in December 2006. EFE