Just steps from the front door of a church, on plastic bags spread over paving stones, the decapitated heads of four people were discovered in the roiling Mexican state of Michoacan.
Arms and legs were found elsewhere in the small town of Zacan.
“This is what will happen to those who support the Knights Templar,” read an ominous note found with the heads.
Forensic team searches for body parts belonging to four people killed and decapitated in Michoacan, Mexico, on Thursday. The victims’ heads were found near the entrance to a church in small town of Zacan. (Photo Credit: STR/EPA)
The decapitation discoveries occurred in the same week that Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto visited the state capital of Moreila to announce he would pump more than $3 million into the local economy to help reverse “institutional weakness” in the area.
Michoacan is under siege by the meth-producing Knights Templar, a ruthless crime syndicate that demands kickbacks from local residents and traffics millions in the drug and sex trades. Vigilantes have risen up to fight the vicious cartel and the state has degenerated into anarchy in many towns and villages.
The Knights Templar also is locked in a turf war with the Jalisco New Generation cartel over meth production and smuggling routes. Thursday’s decapitations may have been a public warning about supporting the quasi-religious, cult-like Templars, authorities said.