Dozens of business are closed in Acapulco, Mexico, in protest of escalating drug cartel violence in the Pacific coast city.
Over the weekend, Mexican police found two headless bodies outside of a Sam's Club store in Acapulco. The bodies had been cut into more than 20 pieces, and authorities found the scalps and facial skin of the two people inside a woman's purse. They have not been able to locate the heads.
On Saturday, police discovered three other decapitated bodies at a gas station about 650 feet from the Sam's Club. Police said on Monday that they found three severed heads in a duffel bag, but have yet to confirm if the heads belong to the bodies
Just a few days earlier, gunmen on the same street where the three bodies were found, shot and killed five people in broad daylight, including a state police officer.
Acapulco is a prime tourist destination for both Mexicans and Americans, but crime has skyrocketed recently as rival cartels vie for power. The city is in the state of Guerrero, where the La Familia and the Knights Templar gangs are especially active.
Last week, four taxi drivers were killed, just three days after a man was executed on a city bus. Last November, a mass-grave containing the remains of 18 kidnapped tourists was discovered outside the city.
Drug-related violence in Mexico exploded in 2006 when the government and President Felipe Calderon launched an offensive against organized crime. Since then, more than 41,000 people have been killed, including civilians, government officials and soldiers.
Recently, government forces have made a number of high-profile arrests. Earlier this month, police captured Jose Antonio Acosta Hernandez, known as El Diego, who is thought to be the leader of the La Linea gang, the enforcement arm of the Juarez cartel in the northern state of Chihuahua.
Acosta, who is a former policeman, admitted to ordering the murders of 1,500 people. He is also thought to be involved with the death of three people with ties to the U.S. Consulate, including a consulate employee and her husband, in 2010.
In June, police captured Acosta's second-in-command. Marco Antonio Guzman Zuniga, who is nicknamed El Brad Pitt, was arrested on charges relating to a car bomb detonated outside a police station last year.