11 bodies found inside abandoned car in Mexico

MEXICO CITY – Mexican police found 11 bodies — most with their hands and feet cut off — inside an abandoned car in the border state of Sonora Thursday in violence attributed to drug traffickers battling for control of the region.

Sonora's state prosecutors said in a statement that the bodies were discovered inside a sport utility vehicle on a road between the towns of Caborca and Sonoyta along with a threatening message. The SUV had been stolen in Arizona.

Prosecutors did not reveal what the message said or the identities of the bodies. They said the killings are linked to a fight between local drug traffickers and another group trying to move in.

Police are investigating whether the killings are tied to an attack on the village of Plutarco Elias Calles where four people were abducted and assailants opened fire on the police station Wednesday night.

Meanwhile, federal police said Thursday they have captured two of 53 inmates who escaped from a prison in northern Mexico last month as its guards apparently stood by.

Marcos Espinoza and Osvaldo Garcia were detained Wednesday in Mexico's central state of Hidalgo along with six alleged members of the Zetas, a gang of hit men tied to the Gulf cartel, federal police intelligence coordinator Luis Cardenas told reporters.

Security camera footage shows that guards at the Cieneguillas prison in Zacatecas state stood by as an armed gang walked out with the 53 inmates on May 16. About a dozen of the fugitives are drug cartel suspects.

The prison director and all 44 guards on duty have been jailed pending an investigation into their possible complicity.

Mexican drug gangs often buy off or blackmail guards and police.

In Michoacan, a state police officer was killed and another one arrested after a clash with soldiers, the army said.

The Defense Department said in a statement that soldiers were checking a kidnapping report in the town of Tarimbaro when assailants opened fire. It said a female state police who was on a leave of absence was shot to death.

In neighboring Guerrero state, two state police officers were killed when assailants fire on their patrol when they were on the highway between the resort city of Acapulco and Zihuatanejo, state security officials said.

President Felipe Calderon's government has stepped up its campaign to fight that kind of corruption in recent weeks, arresting dozens of police and elected officials — including 10 mayors in his home state of Michoacan — on suspicion of collaborating with drug traffickers.

Also Thursday, soldiers raided police stations in the northern state of Nuevo Leon for a fourth day, detaining two police chiefs for questioning. More than 70 officers from 13 towns have been questioned and 57 have been detained in the effort, which began when soldiers found lists of police names in the possession of suspected drug dealers arrested in May.

Calderon has struggled to combat rising drug violence and corruption, sending 45,000 troops to drug hot spots since taking office in December 2006. More than 10,800 people have since died in drug-related incidents.

People look at the moon at the Temple of Hercules at the Citadel in Amman. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed