MICHOACAN, MEXICO (BNO NEWS) -- The bodies of eight people who were kidnapped by the Knights Templar drug cartel were found in the western Mexican state of Michoacán on Saturday, the El Universal newspaper reported.
The deputy attorney of Lázaro Cárdenas city in Michoacán confirmed that the bodies were found in various locations across the city. One survivor was also found lying on a street.
The bodies were found with signs of torture and were killed by a coup de grace. They also carried a message saying that the victims were killed due to their relationship with Jesús Méndez, identified by authorities as the leader of La Familia Michoacana cartel. The Knights Templar, a breakaway faction from La Familia, is fighting to take control of the La Familia territories and drug routes.
Three of the bodies were found near a major highway, while two more bodies were found in the town of Guacamayas on the railroad tracks. Two other bodies were discovered near a police station. For security reasons, the information related to the sole survivor was not released.
The events took place just hours before the start of the 2011 FIFA U-17 World Cup, which is taking place from June 18 to July 10 in six cities across the country, including Morelia, which is the capital of Michoacán.
Michoacán is home to the violent La Familia cartel, one of the strongest drug cartels in Mexico. In November 2010, the criminal organization offered to disband if the government guaranteed peace in the region and "commit to assume the state's control sturdily and decisively."
Mexican authorities categorically rejected the offer as the "law is not negotiable." Mexican President Felipe Calderón said the government will never negotiate with any criminal group.
According to government figures, a total of 15,273 drug-related crimes occurred in Mexico in 2010. More than 30,000 people, 249 of them soldiers, have died in drug-related violence since Mexican President Felipe Calderón began the fight against organized crime in December 2006.