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13 Bodies Found In Vehicles In Northern Mexico

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An assault rifle, semiautomatic pistols, ammo and other stuff seized in the arrest of ten alleged members of the drug cartel "Los Zetas", are presented to the press in Monterrey, Mexico, on February 9, 2012. More than 40,000 people have been killed in rising drug-related violence in Mexico since December 2006, when President Felipe Calderon deployed soldiers and federal police to take on organized crime. AFP PHOTO/Julio Cesar Aguilar (Photo credit should read Julio Cesar Aguilar/AFP/Getty Images)

An assault rifle, semiautomatic pistols, ammo and other stuff seized in the arrest of ten alleged members of the drug cartel ‘Los Zetas’, are presented to the press in Monterrey, Mexico, on February 9, 2012. (credit: Julio Cesar Aguilar/AFP/Getty Images)

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MEXICO CITY (AP) — Police found the mutilated bodies of 13 people inside two vehicles abandoned in separate towns of the northern border state of Tamaulipas, an official said Friday.

Authorities first found the cut-up bodies of two women and three men late Thursday in a potato chip delivery truck abandoned in the parking lot of a supermarket in the town of El Mante, a Tamaulipas state official said. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not allowed to talk about the case.

The official said police also found a threatening message allegedly signed by the Gulf drug cartel.

An hour later, police found eight bodies in the town of Soto la Marina along with a message alleging the victims were members of the Gulf cartel.

Tamaulipas has been a war zone of shootouts and gruesome mass killings as the Zetas and Gulf drug cartels battle each other in the state, which is home to cattle ranches, sorghum fields and the industrial city of Monterrey. The Zetas were hit men for the Gulf cartel until they split in 2010, unleashing a bloody battle for control of northeastern Mexico.

In the border state of Coahuila, police found the bodies of four men hanging from a highway overpass in the capital city of Saltillo.

Coahuila state security spokesman Sergio Sisbeles said the victims found Friday had been tortured and had their feet and hands bound with duct tape. None had been shot and authorities were still trying to determine the cause of death, he said.

On Sunday, police found the mutilated bodies of seven men in Torreon, a city in southern Coahuila.

As does Tamaulipas, Coahuila state abuts Texas and it has seen a spike in drug-related violence from the Zetas fighting the Sinaloa drug cartel for territory.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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