FORTY-nine decapitated and mutilated bodies have been found dumped on a highway connecting the northern Mexican metropolis of Monterrey to the US border in what could be the latest outburst in an escalating war of terror among drug gangs.
Mexico's organised crime groups often abandon multiple bodies in public places as warnings to their rivals, though Nuevo Leon state Attorney-General Adrian de la Garza said he did not rule out the possibility that the victims were US-bound migrants.
The bodies of the 43 men and six women were found in the town of San Juan on the highway to the border city of Reynosa about 4am on Sunday, forcing police and troops to close off the highway.
Reports said the bodies were stuffed into plastic bags.
Nuevo Leon state security spokesman Jorge Domene said at a news conference that a banner left at the site bore a message with the Zetas drug cartel taking responsibility for the massacre.
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