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Mexican Police Find Bodies of 15 Men Crammed Into Pickup

FILE - A mural of La Santa Muerte, or Saint Death, decorates the wall of a community center in Colonias, Michoacan state, Mexico, where vigilantes met with families after a shooting, Jan. 8, 2015.

Police in western Mexico have found the bullet-ridden bodies of 15 men crammed into a pickup truck left on a roadside.

The prosecutors’ office in the western state of Michoacan says the bodies were found Friday in the rural township of Aquila.

The office says one of the dead men has been identified as a local member of the Knights Templar cartel, whose gang has been involved in drug trafficking, kidnapping, extortion and killings.

The beige truck was splattered with blood and scrawled messages on the side suggested the men were killed “because they were kidnappers.”

The area around Aquila was the scene of an uprising by armed vigilantes against the Knights Templar cartel in 2013.