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17 mutilated bodies found near highway in western Mexico

TIZAPAN DE ALTO, MEXICO (BNO NEWS) -- Seventeen mutilated bodies were dumped on a farm near a highway in western Mexico on Sunday, local authorities said on Monday, just days after sixteen other bodies were found in the country's north. It appears to be the latest act of drug-related violence in the country.

Police officers discovered the seventeen mutilated and bullet-ridden bodies on early Sunday morning on a farm in the municipality of Tizapan de Alto, located near the kilometer 28 marker on the Guadalajara-Morelia highway in the state of Jalisco, near its border with Michoacan state.

Local authorities responded to the scene after receiving an anonymous phone call at around 4 a.m. local time, informing them of the bodies. The state's Attorney General, Tomas Coronado Olmos, confirmed the discovery and said the victims were all males who had their eyes taped, their hands tied and suffered multiple gunshot wounds.

The identities of the victims were not immediately known, but authorities believe they were linked to drug-related crime in the area. The bodies of the victims were sent to the Forensic Medical Service in Guadalajara where efforts will be made to determine their identities and their exact cause of death.

On Friday morning, a body was found hanging from a bridge in the city of Nuevo Laredo in the state of Tamaulipas, which borders Laredo, Texas, while eight other bodies were dumped on the asphalt nearby. Seven bodies were found about an hour later near the kilometer 18 marker on the Fernando-La Carbonera highway, located in Tamaulipas' municipality of San Fernando.

According to partial figures released in January, at least 12,903 people were killed in Mexico in violence blamed on organized crime from January to September 2011. Figures for the entire year are not yet available but they will likely bring the total figure for 2011 to more than 17,000, the highest annual number yet.

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