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The scene of this morning's murders in Michoacán. The scene of this morning's murders in Michoacán. El Independiente de Hidalgo

A nasty weekend with as many as 70 killed

July's gang-related murders at highest level since March 2013

Crime gang killings hit their highest level in three years in July, a month that ended in a brutal wave of violence that left as many as 70 people dead.

The news website Sin Embargo called it a weekend of horror with Guerrero leading the way with 19 people executed, 11 of them in Acapulco.

On Saturday morning, seven members of a family were shot and killed by attackers with AK-47 assault rifles in the municipality of Tepecoacuilco. Two of the victims were children of six and 14, but relatives and neighbors reported that four other youngsters fled and survived, although two of them, aged three and 10, suffered bullet wounds.

In Michoacán, 10 charred bodies were discovered in a truck in the northern municipality of Cuitzeo. They were located near Pemex pipelines, leading authorities to speculate that the men were murdered to settle scores between rival gangs engaged in stealing petroleum products.

There were more killings in Veracruz, State of México, Tamaulipas, Mexico City, Zacatecas and Guanajuato, adding up to the worst violence seen since 80 crime gang-related murders were recorded in one day during the administration of former president Felipe Calderón, said Sin Embargo.

The newspaper Milenio reported today that July homicides related to organized crime reached 1,054, their highest level since March 2013 when the newspaper, which tracks the figures, recorded 1,048.

It was the third consecutive month in which the numbers have increased over those of last year. So far this year crime-gang killings — at 6,014 — are up 33% over the same period in 2015.

While security forces seem hard-pressed to bring warring criminal gangs under control, residents of a Michoacán community were offered an alternative last week by a security firm.

Representatives of the company told residents of the municipality of Ziracuaretiro that they could watch over their properties and provide security services in the area.

The price: don’t report the activities of armed gangs.

According to the newspaper Reforma, witnesses who did not wish to be named said the company representatives were member of the Cártel Jalisco Nueva Generación, or CJNG.

Local residents say that the crime gang Caballeros Templarios got its start with the same modus operandi.

In the second half of last month, two citizens and two state police officers were killed and local police headquarters attacked in Ziracuaretiro by opening fire with high-caliber firearms, damaging the building, two patrol cars and another vehicle.

August is not off to an auspicious start in Michoacán. The bodies of two men and a woman were found this morning in Axaupusco after they had been tied up and shot and killed.

Inside a nearby pickup truck, authorities found two survivors, a six-month-old baby and a three-year-old girl. They were taken to a hospital to be treated for hypothermia.

Source: Sin Embargo (sp), Univisión (sp), Reforma (sp), El Independiente de Hidalgo (sp)

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