A suspect left an SUV filled with 10 bodies near a Christmas tree outside the office of the governor of the Mexican state of Zacatecas on Thursday. The incident comes amid an ongoing battle between the various drug cartels operating in the region.
CBS News reported the Mazda SUV contained the bodies of eight men and two women.
In a videotaped statement he shared to Twitter, Zacatecas Governor David Monreal described the incident and announced the arrest of suspects in the case.
“We have achieved the arrest of the alleged perpetrators linked to the events that occurred this morning in Zacatecas. We will not rest until peace and security return to our state,” Monreal said in a translated statement.
In his video statement, Monreal said the bodies left in the SUV appeared to have been beaten and bruised.
“They came to leave them here in front of the palace,” Monreal said of the suspects. The palace refers to the main square of the city, also known as Zacatecas.
Mexican federal officials said video captured of the incident showed a man driving the vehicle up near the governor’s office before he walked away down a nearby alley.
The incident is likely connected to ongoing conflicts between the various drug cartels in Zacatecas.
Zacatecas is the sight of an ongoing cartel war between the Sinaloa, Jalisco New Generation cartels, Gulf and North-east cartels, as well as remnants of the Zetas who call themselves “Talibans.” According to the Guardian, the Mexican state recorded 1,050 murders in 2021, which is 260 more than the previous year.
Monreal said security continues to be a top concern for Zacatecas, but said he will continue working to reduce the violence.
“Bit by bit we will recover our peace,” he said. “What we received was a cursed inheritance.”
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador mentioned the incident in his weekly press conference on Friday. Obrador said the incident was the result of fighting between gangs, and the bodies were left was a “provocation.”
Federal authorities with Mexico’s Public Safety Department are assisting local authorities in Zacatecas with the ongoing investigation.
Mexico overall saw 31,615 killings in the first 11 months of 2021. That number represents a slight decrease from the 32,814 killings recorded in 2020. Despite the slight drop in violent crime across Mexico, violence remains high in the state of Zacatecas. The Mexican state saw a 52.2 percent increase in murders from January to November of 2021, as compared with the same time period in 2020, according to crime data reported by La Jornada Zacatecas.