Bodies hung from bridge in Cuernavaca, Mexico

Bridge outside of Cuernavaca where the bodies were found The bodies were hung from a bridge on a busy road south of Cuernavaca

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Police in Mexico say they have found four bodies hung from a bridge in an affluent town south of Mexico City.

The four men had been decapitated and mutilated before being hung by their ankles from the bridge outside Cuernavaca, in the state of Morelos.

A message had been left with their heads warning that anyone supporting Edgar Valdez would risk a similar fate.

Edgar Valdez is reportedly fighting Hector Beltran Leyva for control of the influential Beltran Leyva drug cartel.

Cuernavaca, a city of 350,000 and a popular weekend retreat spot for wealthy residents of Mexico City, is at the centre of the turf war.

The cartel has been without a leader since Arturo Beltran Leyva was killed by the security forces in December.

Edgar Valdez, a US citizen known as Barbie for his blond hair, is a leading contender to take over as the head of the gang.

But Hector Beltran Leyva, the former leader's brother, is also vying for that position. His other brother Carlos, another contender for the leadership, was arrested in January.

Police said the killing of the four men, aged between 25 and 30, was most probably linked to the drug turf war.

They had been reported kidnapped days earlier.

The Beltran Leyva organisation is believed to have the most sophisticated intelligence of any of the Mexican drug cartels, and controls firms involved in, among others, transportation, electronics, health products and hospitality.

Control over its many and varied operations is seen as a key prize.

Map showing areas of influence of Mexican drug cartels

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