Mexico finds 16 burned bodies in drug lord's home state

MEXICO CITY Wed Nov 23, 2011 4:41pm EST

A police officer takes a photograph of a truck with the charred corpses of 11 men and a woman in a residential street in Culiacan November 23, 2011.  REUTERS/Fidel Duran

A police officer takes a photograph of a truck with the charred corpses of 11 men and a woman in a residential street in Culiacan November 23, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Fidel Duran

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MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexican authorities found the burned bodies of 16 people in the home state of the country's most powerful drug lord, Joaquin "Shorty" Guzman, the attorney general's office of Sinaloa said on Wednesday.

The bodies were discovered in two locations in Culiacan, the capital city of Sinaloa, the northwestern state after which Guzman's powerful cartel is named, an official at the attorney general's office said.

Sinaloa has long been violent, but Guzman wields considerable control over the state and there have been few reports of mass killings there in recent months. Two weeks ago one of Guzman's top lieutenants in Sinaloa was captured.

Firefighters discovered the scorched corpses of 11 men and a woman in the back of a truck in a residential street in Culiacan.

Authorities were then alerted to a burning vehicle near a supermarket, the official said. There the charred bodies of four men were found stuffed into the back of a pickup truck, which appeared to have been set on fire by gasoline. Police are investigating.

Mexican media reported that four other bodies were found just outside Culiacan, but authorities could not confirm this.

On November 10, Mexico arrested Ovidio Limon Sanchez, the head of Guzman's operations in Culiacan.

Mexican President Felipe Calderon has deployed the army to crack down on powerful criminal gangs and some 45,000 people have died in the conflict since he took office. The government has captured or killed dozens of high-level drug smugglers.

(Reporting by Rachel Uranga)

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