In the Zacatecas municipality of Cuauhtémoc on Thursday, the bodies of nine people were discovered hanging from a bridge after cartel members reportedly did so to warn off rival gang members in a violent turf war. A 10th victim was discovered on a nearby roadway at around 6 am, according to The Sun. The bodies were removed from the overpass by police at around 10 am local time.
Officials are warning that the disturbing display was likely linked to a violent dispute between ruthless criminal gangs that operate in the area.
Local media reportedly said the majority of victims identified were from the small town Cuauhtémoc, which has a population of only 6,660.
"They pay for the sins of others, it is not fair that they do this to us because they pay for the sinners," one local resident told TV Azteca Noticias.
"It's scary to go out at night. You have to go to sleep early and every night there is noise, motorcycles, screaming, things like that," another added.
The local government has stated that an "intense investigation" is underway, though no arrests have been made.
Thursday's gruesome discovery has reignited urgent calls for leaders to ramp up security measures in the area, and provide more patrols.
Throughout the year, cartels have been hanging their victims from bridges to send a grisly warning to others. In June, around 70 miles away from Cuauhtémoc, three bodies were discovered hanging forma bridge in Fresnillo. According to The Sun, El Chapo's henchmen were behind this display, where they reportedly tortured, killed, and mutilated rival gang members before handing them from that bridge.
In May, it was reported that a head was suspended from a bridge in the neighborhood of Sánchez Taboada by a Tijuana cartel.
Brutality and violence brought about by these gangs, including the vicious Jalisco New Generation Cartel, considered the most dangerous and powerful criminal enterprise in Mexico, are now spreading into popular tourist areas, particularly in the Yucatan peninsula state of Quintana Roo.
"President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador announced he is now permanently deploying National Guard troops to Cancun in a bid to curb the rise in crime," wrote The Sun. Last month, two foreign tourists were killed in the crossfire during a shootout between gang members in Tulum.
"On average this year, 2,400 people have died each month due to gang-related violence, the government said," wrote The Sun. "As of September, a whopping 21,495 people have fell victim to the merciless cartels."