The dead bodies of 13 people were found in an abandoned truck on Christmas Day in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas.
The discovery was made by national defense forces during a routine patrol of the area. The bodies were discovered near the border with Veracruz state and officials are linking the case to two rival drug gangs prominent in the region - the Zetas and the Gulf.
“It’s presumed that the case is related to illegal organized crime groups because of a couple of blankets that were found in the truck alluding to rivalries between groups of organized crime,” said Tamaulipas Attorney General Bolivar Hernandez Garza.
Veracruz, initially spared of casualties throughout Mexico’s war on drug cartels, has witnessed increased outbreaks of violence over the last few months.
This past Thursday, 11 people were killed in two towns in Veracruz when a group of five armed men robbed and killed four people who were loading vegetables into a truck in El Higo. The armed men later ambushed three passenger buses traveling on a highway between the towns of Tempoal and Panuco, robbing passengers and killing seven people.
Three Americans were among the dead in the bus attacks that are also believed to have been a result of the Zeta and Gulf drug cartel rivalries.
As a result of the increased violence in the region, last week federal officials informed residents of Veracruz that they would be disbanding police officials and sending in navy service members to patrol the streets.
The unprecedented move saw Veracruz Governor Javier Duarte firing all 900 municipal police members and handing the city over to the Mexican Navy.
The dead bodies discovered on Christmas Day are the latest in the deadly war against drug cartels, which has been ranging in the country since 2006. More than 40,000 people have died across the country due to the drug war.