GUATEMALA CITY (Reuters) - At least 27 people were found dead in a Guatemalan village near the border with Mexico Sunday morning in one of the worst mass killings in the country in a generation, local police said.
The bloody incident started when raiders attacked the small town of Caserio La Bomba about 275 miles north of the capital, police said.
Two women were among the victims of the attack, said police, who were trying to determine the exact time of the attack and searching for more bodies. Many of the victims were shot and beheaded, police said.
“This is the worst massacre we have seen in modern times,” police spokesman Donald Gonzalez told Reuters, saying it was hard to remember a mass killing on this scale since Guatemala’s 36-year civil war ended in 1996.
Police said the slayings could be linked to the Saturday slaying of 56-year-old Haroldo Waldemar Leon, the brother of suspected drug trafficker Juan Jose Leon, who was gunned down in a rural area of northern Guatemala.
Jose Leon was wanted by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration when he was killed in a 2008 attack that involved 30 men ambushing his home. Ten other people were killed in the gun battle.
Police linked Jose Leon’s killing to the powerful Mexican drug cartel, Las Zetas. Guatemala’s northern border is an active drug transfer point for cocaine moving north from South America.
Reporting by Mike McDonald; Editing by Peter Cooney and Todd Eastham