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Blog del Narco: Soldiers Among 17 Found Executed and Dumped on Highway

Blog del Narco: Soldiers Among 17 Found Executed and Dumped on Highway

Photo: Blog del Narco: Few Bodies Identified

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Two army soldiers were among the 17 men found fatally shot last weekend in the western state of Jalisco, the state Attorney General’s Office said.

The remaining four victims who have been identified had criminal records, the AG’s office said in a statement.

The bodies were discovered Sunday in Tizapan el Alto, a city near the border with Michoacan state. The men had been bound with ropes and chains.

Six of the victims have been positively identified using fingerprints.

Omar Juarez Lucas, 37, was an infantry private in the Mexican army, the Jalisco AG’s office said, though without specifying whether he was on active duty at the time of his murder.

Another victim, Gerardo Nava Sanchez, was an army deserter with a criminal record in the southern state of Chiapas, the statement said.

Two men did prison time in the states of Colima and Oaxaca, respectively, while the other two identified victims had federal arrest records, the Jalisco AG’s office said.

No one has come forward to claim any of the 17 bodies.

Investigators say it appears the bodies were dumped alongside the Guadalajara-Morelia highway by people traveling in several SUVs.

The vehicles were headed in the direction of neighboring Michoacan.

The remains of 18 people, including some who were dismembered, were found in May in two SUVs near Guadalajara, capital of Jalisco and Mexico’s second-largest city.

Those killings were blamed on Los Zetas, considered Mexico’s most violent drug cartel.

Sixteen bodies were found on Friday in Tamaulipas, a state in northeast Mexico, with seven bodies discovered in the city of San Fernando and the other nine left hanging off a bridge in Nuevo Laredo, located across the Rio Grande from Laredo, Texas.

More than 50,000 people, according to official figures, have died in drug-related violence in Mexico since late 2006, when President Felipe Calderon took office and declared war on the country’s powerful cartels.

Calderon has deployed tens of thousands of soldiers and Federal Police officers across the country to combat drug cartels and other criminal organizations.

The use of the armed forces, however, has failed to stem the violence.

Mexico registered 27,199 murders in 2011, or 24 per 100,000 people, the highest number since Calderon took office, the National Institute of Statistics and Geography said in a report released on Aug. 20.

The Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity, which was founded by human rights activist and poet Javier Sicilia, puts the death toll from Mexico’s drug war at 70,000.

Read more in Spanish at Blog del Narco