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5 headless bodies left in front of funeral home

MEXICO CITY — Five headless bodies were left in front of a funeral home in a northern Mexico town in a drug region, prosecutors said Wednesday.

The prosecutors’ office in the border state of Chihuahua said the killings occurred in Guachochi, which is an area known as “the golden triangle” because of the amount of drug production there.

The office said four men arrived in a pickup truck Tuesday at the Guemar funeral home and left two headless bodies riddled with bullets.

Hours later, another pickup went to the same funeral home and left three more headless bodies. The driver of the truck said he found the bodies on a road and brought them to the funeral home.

Four of the victims were identified by relatives.

In Mexico’s capital, authorities reported Tuesday that a hand-lettered banner had been hung along a main boulevard in which the hyper-violent Jalisco New Generation cartel claimed to be operating in Mexico City. On Wednesday, federal officials expressed doubt about the banner.

Renato Sales, Mexico’s national security commissioner, said that “up to this point we don’t believe that these banners belong to” the Jalisco cartel. He added that authorities also had not seen “signs of any operation presence of this group” in Mexico City.

Petty criminals in Mexico have sometimes been known to try to pass themselves off as members of more powerful cartels in an attempt to intimidate the public and rivals.

Speaking of drug related violence, Sales acknowledged what critics of government policy have long claimed: that arresting cartel leaders simply fragments the groups into smaller and often more violent gangs.

“The (crime) statistics are related to the fragmentation of groups that are fighting for (border) crossing points to ship opioids, fentanyl, meth,” Sales said, adding that gangs also are battling over control of towns and ports.