Gunmen kill 5 members of family in northwestern Mexico

Mexico City, Apr 3 (EFE).- At least five people, all members of the same family, were gunned down outside the Mexican Pacific port city of Mazatlan, police and prosecutors said.

The victims' bodies were found Tuesday in Chilacayota, a community outside Mazatlan.

Heavily armed gunmen killed the five, but the motive for the killings is not known.

A request will be made to the army to patrol the area, Mazatlan Mayor Alejandro Higuera Osuna told reporters.

Mazatlan is in Sinaloa state, which is the scene of frequent gun battles involving rival drug cartels.

Sinaloa is home to the powerful drug cartel led by Joaquin "El Chapo" (Shorty) Guzman.

The Sinaloa cartel, sometimes referred to by officials as the Pacific cartel, is the oldest drug cartel in Mexico and Guzman, considered extremely violent, is one of the most-wanted criminals in Mexico and the United States, where the Drug Enforcement Administration has offered a reward of $5 million for him.

The rival Los Zetas cartel has been trying to grab control of some areas, including Mazatlan, from the Sinaloa cartel.

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.