Police find 6 bodies inside vehicle in northwest Mexico

Culiacan, Mexico, Apr 21 (EFE).- The bodies of six men were found inside an SUV near the industrial zone in Ahome, a city in the northwestern Mexican state of Sinaloa, police said.

The grisly discovery was made Saturday by municipal police.

The vehicle was taken in an armed robbery on April 8 in the town of Juan Jose Rios, officials said.

Army troops cordoned off the area while crime scene investigators from the prosecutor's office gathered evidence.

The SUV was towed to a funeral home with the bodies still inside so they could be examnined by specialists, officials said.

Sinaloa Attorney General Marco Antonio Higuera Gomez went to the funeral home to oversee the investigation.

The victims were stripped to the waist and wore only pants and sandals, police said.

"It is believed that the victims are farmworkers who were reported missing on Friday night after drinking at an agricultural camp," a police spokesman said.

The motive for the massacre is not known, but Sinaloa has been plagued by drug-related violence for years.

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 in the state from the Sinaloa organization.

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.