9 Jan 2011

Wave of drug killings in Mexico tourist city

12:55 pm on 9 January 2011

The decapitated bodies of 15 young men have been found in the Mexican resort city of Acapulco as cartels battle for control of the drugs trade in the area.

Police said they were discovered near a shopping centre and were all aged between 15 and 25.

Media reports say hand-written messages signed by the leader of the Sinaloa drug cartel, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, were found alongside the bodies.

Acapulco is in an area of Mexico where the drug trade is controlled by La Familia Michoacana, one of the most violent cartels, the BBC reports.

At least a dozen more bodies were found at several scenes of violence around the city early on Saturday, local media reported said.

More than 30,000 people have been killed in drug-related violence in Mexico since late 2006.

President Felipe Calderon has deployed thousands of troops to battle the drug cartels, and claims to be making progress in reducing their influence, but critics say the policies have increased the level of violence without reducing the flow of drugs into the US.