Assailants left 10 beaten, murdered bodies in front of the governor’s office in the north-central Mexican state of Zacatecas on Thursday.
The bodies were crammed into a pickup truck left before dawn near a Christmas tree in the main plaza of the state capital, also named Zacatecas.
Governor David Monreal said he was starting work when he got word of the grisly discovery.
“They came to leave them here…bodies, apparently beaten, with wounds,” Monreal said.
The federal Public Safety Department said a man drove the truck into the plaza, then exited the vehicle and walked away down an alley.
The department said federal agencies were sending reinforcements to Zacatecas to help in the investigation.
The Sinaloa and Jalisco New Generation cartels have been battling for control in the largely rural state through alliances with local gangs. Zacatecas has one of the highest per-capita murder rates in Mexico.
“What we received was a cursed inheritance” from previous administrations, Monreal said.
Zacatecas is a key transit point for drugs, especially the powerful synthetic painkiller fentanyl, moving north to the US border.
President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has been unable to significantly reduce homicides in Mexico. There were 31,615 killings in the first 11 months of 2021, a decline of just 3.6% from the 32,814 in 2020.