MONTERREY, Mexico (AP) - Forty-nine bodies with their heads, hands and feet hacked off were found today dumped on a northern Mexico highway leading to the Texas border in what appeared to be the latest carnage in an escalating war between Mexico's two dominant drug cartels.
Local and federal authorities discovered the bodies before dawn lying in a pool of blood at the entrance to the desert town of San Juan, on a highway leading from the metropolis of Monterrey to the border city of Reynosa. A white stone arch welcoming visitors was spray-painted with black letters: "100% Zeta."
Nuevo Leon state security spokesman Jorge Domene said at a news conference that the 43 men and six women would be hard to identify because of the lack of heads, hands and feet. The bodies were being taken to a Monterrey auditorium for DNA tests.
The victims could have been killed as long as two days ago at another location, then transported to San Juan, a town in Cadereyta municipality about 105 miles west-southwest of McAllen, Texas, and 75 miles southwest of the Roma, Texas, border crossing, state Attorney General Adrian de la Garza said.
De la Garza said he did not rule out the possibility that the victims were U.S.-bound migrants.