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Mexican warden kidnapped, dismembered and scattered

Drug gang hitmen abducted him as he was driving to work

CorrectionsOne Staff

MEXICO CITY — The warden of a Mexican prison was kidnapped by gunmen when he arrived for work Saturday. His body was found later in the day, dismembered and scattered to four locations across the small state of Morelos adjacent to Mexico City, Reuters has reported.

Suspected drug gang hitmen grabbed Lius Navarro Castaneda, warden of Atlacholoaya prison in Morelos, while he was reporting for work. Parts of his body were later found in gift bags at four locations near police stations.

His abandoned Toyota truck was found near the prison, CNN reports.

According to UPI, at least two of the packages containing the Warden's remains included written messages threatening police and other public officials.

The state of Morelos, and its capital Cuernavaca, has witnessed a surge in drug-related violence since security forces killed Arturo Beltran Leyva, the leader of an eponymous regional drug cartel, in December.

What was once a popular tourist destination for Mexico City residents is becoming a hotbed for violence as a brutal power struggle unfolds among gang factions in the wake of Beltran Leyva’s death.

Around the same time that Warden Navarro Castaneda’s remains were found in Morelos, at least 20 bodies were discovered in a ravine in the bordering state of Guerrero.

Officials will not know the exact number of corpses that were found for three days, El Universal reported, citing Guerrero state spokesman Manuel Nava.

Drug violence is raging across Mexico. Almost 23,000 people are believed to have been killed in the fight among cartels and with Mexican security forces since President Felipe Calderon launched his army-led crackdown on drug gangs in 2006.

The escalating violence is troubling to Washington, which is giving anti-drug aid, equipment and police training to Mexico.

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