Latin America & Caribbean

Mexican navy finds 32 bodies in Veracruz

Mexican soldier on guard duty in Veracruz - 22 September 2011
Mexico has deployed extra security to Veracruz state to combat an upsurge in drug-related violence

Thirty-two bodies have been found in several locations in Mexico's eastern port city of Veracruz, the navy says.

The discovery comes two weeks after 35 bodies were dumped in broad daylight on a busy road on the city outskirts.

The Mexican government has announced the deployment of extra security forces in the state, as gangs wage an escalating war over drug trafficking.

Some 40,000 people are estimated to have been killed since the army was sent in to combat drug gangs in 2006.

A statement from the navy said the 32 bodies were found in three houses in Veracruz as the military carried out its new Safe Veracruz campaign against the drug cartels.

Twenty of the bodies were in one house in a residential neighbourhood, the navy said.

A group calling itself the Zeta Killers has said it had killed the 35 people whose bodies were left in two lorries at an underpass on a busy road in Boca del Rio in Veracruz state.

The group said it was targeting one of Mexico's most notorious drug cartels, which has been locked in an escalating war with the Gulf cartel.

Police have said that most of the dead found in Boca del Rio on 20 September had criminal records.

Earlier this week, officials said 18 police officers had been arrested on suspicion of working with the Zetas.