MEXICO CITY (AP) — Police found the bullet-ridden bodies of five men and six boys in Mexico’s western state of Michoacan, where several drug cartels have been waging bloody turf battles.
State prosecutors said late Monday the 11 bodies were found near the town of Tarecuato, in the northern part of Michoacan near the border with the state of Jalisco. The dead ranged in age from 15 to 36.
Prosecutors said the murders appear to have occurred late Monday. Investigators found a truck and three motorcycles at the scene, but did not immediately identify the dead men.
Jalisco state is home to the drug cartel of the same name, which has been trying to expand its territory in Michoacan. Local gangs in Michoacan have been fighting off the incursions for several years.
Tarecuato is not far from the avocado-producing region of Michoacan and is also not far from the town of La Barca, where clandestine mass graves have been found. Michoacan is among Mexico’s half-dozen most violent states.
Michoacan’s seaport of Lazaro Cardenas is valued by the cartels as an entry point for precursor chemicals from China used to make meth and fentanyl. The state’s avocado orchards are also a prime target for extortion, and cartels in the past have mined Michoacan’s iron ore deposits to export to China.