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Narco Blog: Rival Cartel Violence Leaves Three Dead in Cuernavaca

Narco Blog: Rival Cartel Violence Leaves Three Dead in Cuernavaca

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Three men were found stangled to death Tuesday inside an SUV in the central Mexican city of Cuernavaca, the Morelos state Attorney General’s Office said.

The victims were bound, gagged and blindfolded and the vehicle was parked in a residential neighborhood of Cuernavaca, a popular weekend destination for residents of Mexico City.

Family members identified one of the dead as Diego Soriano and said he was the brother-in-law of another of the victims, a man they knew only as Oscar, the state AG’s office said.

While the third victim remains unidentified, his arms and legs bear tattoos similar to those found on Oscar, according to the official statement.

The SUV, which had Mexico City plates, was reported stolen Nov. 5 in Toluca, a city near the capital.

Accompanying the bodies were two messages with identical wording that warned against collaborating with a criminal outfit known as Guerreros Unidos, the AG’s office said.

Leaving “calling cards” at murder scenes has become a common practice in the Mexican underworld.

The illegal drug trade in Morelos is thought to be controlled by the South Pacific cartel, a faction that split off from the Beltran Leyva brothers organization after its leader, Arturo Beltran Leyva, died in a December 2009 shootout in Cuernavaca with marines.

Conflicts among rival cartels and between the criminals and the security forces have claimed 50,000 lives in Mexico over the past five years.