Nine more bodies have been discovered around the Mexican city of Tijuana, all apparent victims of a drug trade that has claimed nearly 50 people in the border town in a single week.
Details released Saturday by the Baja California state Attorney General's office painted a gruesome picture of citywide slayings that prosecutor Rommel Moreno blamed on warring leaders within the Arellano Felix drug gang.
The bodies of five men who had been asphyxiated were found in a car in eastern Tijuana Saturday. Elsewhere in the city, the decapitated cadavers of two others were discovered on a road, marked by a cardboard sign that read: "These are the bricklayer's people."
The deaths are the latest in a rash of drug-related killings in Tijuana.
The bodies of 12 people, some with their tongues cut out, were found on Monday dumped in a vacant lot next to an elementary school. On Friday night, two men were found shot to death in the same lot.
More than 400 people have been killed in similar crimes this year in Tijuana, which borders the California city of San Diego. Execution-style killings, beheadings and shootouts have increased across the country over the past two years since the army and federal police cranked up their efforts against the drug trade.
The violence has spurred legislative action from Mexican President Felipe Calderon, who this week sent a sweeping security proposal to lawmakers aimed at fighting drug-related crime, reducing police corruption and streamlining the exchange of information on criminals between federal and local governments.
Calderon has said the legal reforms include the creation of a national database on criminal activity, and strengthening and standardizing police training. The package also aims to add a system of controls to ensure police officers meet minimal quality and anti-corruption requirements.
The bills also include police procedures to protect human rights and stronger penalties for those officers who sell drugs to people on the street, especially to children. Some police officers have been prosecuted for kidnappings and taking part in the drug trade.