MORELIA — At least 23 bodies were found in two neighboring states in western Mexico where drug cartels, vigilantes and security forces have been fighting for much of the year, authorities said Saturday.
The state prosecutor in Michoacan said that nine bodies, hands bound and shot, were found on an abandoned property near the town of Buenavista Tomatlan along with a sign indicating they may have been members of the Knights Templar cartel.
The remote area near the Jalisco state border has suffered a wave of violence for most of this year, as self-defense groups have risen up to battle the Knights Templar, which controls the territory with killings and extortion. Authorities say some groups are supported by a rival cartel, Jalisco New Generation, also fighting the Knights Templar. The groups deny that.
The sign read: "For those who continue to support the Knights Templar, we are here, united," said prosecutor's spokesman Alejandro Arellano said. The note was signed with the initials of the New Generation, as well as the initials G.C., indicating a community-based, self-defense group.