Police have found 19 bodies in Mexico near a drug cartel banner threatening rivals in an alleged killing spree. Nine of the bodies were found hanging from an overpass Thursday, and seven were found mutilated and dumped by a nearby road. Three other bodies were found down the road, the Associated Press reports. The massacre happened in the state of Michoacan, and the banner was marked with the initials of the Jalisco drug cartel and mentioned a rival group. The state attorney general reportedly said the killings were part of an ongoing turf war. Two of the hanging bodies found were women, as was one of the dismembered bodies. The victims had been shot to death, and some of them were hung with their hands bound. The grisly deaths are a return to the violence prominent during Mexico’s 2006-2012 drug war.
“This kind of public, theatrical violence, where you don’t just kill, but you brag about killing, is meant to intimidate rivals and send a message to the authorities,” Mexico security analyst Alejandro Hope said. The Jalisco drug cartel previously dumped 35 bodies on an expressway in Veracruz in 2011.