MEXICO CITY, July 3 (Reuters) - Authorities have found seven severed heads stuffed in plastic bags on the edge of a highway near the city of Guadalajara, Jalisco state prosecutors said on Wednesday.
The gruesome discovery about 25 miles (40 kilometers) from the country's second-biggest city is a reminder of the criminal violence still plaguing Mexico, despite assurances from the government that the murder rate is falling.
More than 60,000 people died in violence linked to warring drug cartels during the 2006-2012 presidency of Felipe Calderon. An average of 1,000 people per month have been killed under his successor, Enrique Pena Nieto, who took office December.
Jalisco, the home of tequila and mariachi music, has been hard hit by the ongoing violence. Murders were up more than 5 percent during the first five months of this year compared with the same period a year ago, according to Mexican police.
The bodies of two schoolboys suspected of bullying the son of a powerful drug trafficker were found in Jalisco this week.
In March Jalisco's tourism minister was shot dead in Guadalajara just a week after taking office. (Reporting by Lizbeth Diaz; Editing by Xavier Briand)