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12 decapitated bodies found in Mexico's Yucatan peninsula

August 29, 2008 | 10:46 am

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The recent violence in Mexico, much of it drug-related, is showing no signs of letting up.

A grisly discovery Thursday on the Yucatan peninsula -- one of the country's most popular tourist destinations -- saw the violence spread to a state that, until now, largely has been spared the problems seen in other parts of Mexico. Although the Yucatan has seen scattered violence, it had not been a scene of severe fighting between drug-trafficking groups.

Ken Ellingwood reports: "In a sign of the spreading violence in Mexico, 11 decapitated bodies were found late Thursday near the colonial city of Merida on the Yucatan peninsula, officials said."

"The bodies bore signs of torture and some were unclothed. Yucatan state officials said a 12th decapitated body was found later about 120 miles south of Merida, a city that is often used as a tourist gateway to the famed Maya ruins at Chichen Itza."

Warring drug gangs have routinely decapitated rivals during the last two years as they battle for coveted routes for smuggling drugs into the United States.

Four decapitated bodies were found in Tijuana earlier this week in a incident likely linked to drug trafficking.

Drug-related violence in Mexico has grown more savage amid a crackdown on traffickers by the government of President Felipe Calderon, says Ellingwood, and more than 2,500 people have died in drug violence, according to unofficial tallies by Mexican news organizations.

Go here for our special report on the drug-related violence in Mexico, Mexico Under Siege.

Click here for more on Mexico and here for more on the drug trade across Latin America.

-- Deborah Bonello in Mexico City

Photo: Mexican soldiers march in last year's Independence Day parade in Mexico City. President Felipe Calderon has deployed 40,000 soldiers and 5,000 federal police officers to try to secure large swaths of the country against entrenched drug traffickers. Credit: Deborah Bonello / Los Angeles Times

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