GUADALAJARA, Mexico: Authorities have recovered 12 bodies in a western Mexican river near a lake popular among US tourists, as suspicion about the deaths turned toward two drug gangs on Thursday.
Three bodies were found in the Lerma river on Thursday afternoon, after nine others were recovered in the first three days of the week, said Eduardo Almaguer, the top prosecutor in Jalisco state.
“Twelve bodies have been found in the Lerma river and its mouth at Lake Chapala,” Almaguer told reporters.
He did not say how the three new victims died.
The nine other bodies showed “show signs of violence,” he said. A police official said at least two of those victims had bullet wounds and two others were mutilated.
“If two criminal groups participated in this situation, our obligation is to arrest them,” Almaguer said, without naming the gangs.
The bodies were recovered within the municipality of Jamay, a fishing area. The lake is also surrounded by a large expat community, including retirees.
The western state has been hit by violence perpetrated by the Jalisco New Generation drug cartel, one of Mexico’s most powerful and violent criminal groups.
Almaguer said some victims may have been killed in Jalisco and others in the neighboring state of Michoacan, another major flashpoint in Mexico’s decade-long drug war.
Jamay is near the municipality of La Barca, which lies near the Jalisco-Michoacan border, where 75 bodies were unearthed from 37 clandestine graves between late 2013 and early 2014.