21 Bodies Found in South Mexico

Twenty-one corpses, seemingly killed by suffocation, were found in Michoacan, a state along Mexico’s Pacific coast known as the base of drug trafficking gang the Familia Michoacana.

As Excelsior reports, the bodies, most of whom were men under the age of 25, were left in small groups at various locations in the state capital Morelia on Wednesday night. None of the men bore signs of physical injures, which led authorities to conclude that they had been suffocated. Such an unusual method of dispatching enemies could suggest the emergence of a new cell of the Familia in Morelia.

Authorities said that a note accompanied five of the bodies, though they declined to reveal its contents.

As InSight has reported, turmoil among the remaining leaders of the Familia, which has been buffeted by a series of blows from the government in recent months, has precipitated a split, with former Familia boss Servando Gomez, alias “La Tuta,” taking a big chunk of the gang and forming a group dubbed the Caballeros Templarios (Knights Templar).

The portion of the group still calling itself the Familia is loyal to leader Jose de Jesus Mendez, alias “El Chango,” and the Caballeros have been battling it out for control of Michoacan, which is a valuable site of methamphetamine production as well as home to one of Mexico’s largest ports, in Lazaro Cardenas.