Police find 9 bodies inside SUV in northeast Mexico

Mexico City, Apr 2 (EFE).- Nine bodies, the majority of them dismembered, were found inside an SUV with Texas tags in Ciudad Victoria, the capital of the northeastern Mexican state of Tamaulipas, state officials said.

The grisly discovery was made Sunday night in the community of Santa Clara, the Tamaulipas Attorney General's Office and the Public Safety Secretariat said in a joint statement.

The Gulf and Los Zetas drug cartels have been fighting for control of Tamaulipas and smuggling routes into the United States.

Police received a tip from a caller that the bodies were inside a GMC Yukon SUV, the state agencies said.

"The remains of nine unidentified males, the majority of them dismembered, were found inside the vehicle," the AG's office and the secretariat said.

The bodies were taken to the morgue, where specialists will try to identify them.

A Mexico City newspaper reported Monday that 1,025 people died in drug-related violence in March, making it the deadliest month since President Enrique Peña Nieto took office.

A total of 3,919 people have been killed in drug-related incidents since Dec. 1, 2012, the day Peña Nieto took office, the Milenio newspaper said.

The war on drugs launched by former President Felipe Calderon, who was in office from 2006 to 2012, left about 70,000 people dead, or an average of 32 per day, in Mexico, officials say.

Calderon, of the conservative National Action Party, or PAN, deployed thousands of soldiers and Federal Police officers across the country to fight drug cartels.

Peña Nieto, of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, has continued the strategy implemented by Calderon of taking on the cartels, but he has also called for bolstering intelligence capabilities and attacking criminal organizations' entire structures, not just kingpins.