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Severed heads found near Mexican defense ministry

Oct 3, 2011, 10:03 a.m.
Members of a forensic team and police officers stand at a crime scene where two decapitated body were found inside a car in Mexico City October 3, 2011. REUTERS/Stringer

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - The severed heads of two men were found near the Defense Ministry in Mexico City on Monday in one of the most brazen drug-linked killings in the capital, which so far has been spared the worst of gang violence.

One head was left on the pavement along a busy road by the Defense Ministry where a number of generals live, according to a Reuters witness. The other was placed on the roof of a car a few yards away, local media said.

The attorney general of Mexico City, Miguel Angel Mancera, said a message left with the heads attributed the killings to the "Hand with Eyes" drug gang, a splinter group of the Beltran Leyva cartel that was little known until this year.

The message suggested the victims were members of an organization allied to Joaquin "Shorty" Guzman, leader of the powerful Sinaloa drug cartel and one of the country's most wanted men.

Violence linked to drug gangs has claimed more than 42,000 lives since President Felipe Calderon sent in the army to crush the cartels shortly after taking office at the end of 2006.

The government has captured or killed several top drug lords but other ruthless gangs have sprung up to take the place of more established cartels weakened by the conflict.

The killings, once concentrated on the northern border, have showed no sign of abating. Some of the worst incidents in recent weeks have occurred farther south, notably the dumping of 35 bodies in the port of Veracruz last month.

In August police arrested "Hand with Eyes" leader Oscar Garcia. An ex-marine, Garcia admitted killing 300 people and ordering the murders of 300 more.

(Reporting by Mexico City Newsroom; Editing by Xavier Briand)

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