MORELIA, Mexico – Twelve people tortured, slain and dumped along a mountain road were military intelligence officers, a state official said Tuesday. It is one of boldest attacks on federal forces since President Felipe Calderon launched his national war on drugs.
The bound and blindfolded bodies of 11 men and one woman were found late Monday near the town of La Huacana in Calderon's home state of Michoacan, which has been a center of his crackdown on organized crime.
Interim Michoacan state prosecutor J. Jesus Montejano told reporters Tuesday the 12 were gathering intelligence in Michoacan.
He said the case was turned over to the federal attorney general's office. There have been no arrests so far.
Initial reports indicated the victims were likely killed over the weekend, when federal agents arrested Arnoldo Rueda Medina, a chief of operations of the Michoacan-based La Familia cartel.
Police say his arrest Saturday set off a string of brazen attacks against federal forces that left six federal police officers and two soldiers dead. Heavily armed gunmen threw grenades and fired on federal police stations and hotels where the agents were staying in three states.
Federal forces arrested politicians in several of those cities, including La Huacana, during an unprecedented sweep in May. Seven mayors, one former mayor and the state prosecutor remain jailed accused of protecting the La Familia cartel.
Since Calderon took office in December 2006, he has sent more than 45,000 troops to drug hot spots. More than 11,000 people have been killed in drug violence.
Michoacan has been wracked by a wave of killings and arrests in recent weeks.
On Tuesday, three bodies were found in the Michoacan town of Nuevo Urecho.