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3 headless bodies found in 'narco-grave,' Mexican military says

From Nick Valencia, CNN
  • Victims, suspects thought to be linked to opposing cartels, Mexican government says
  • Ten people arrested after decapitated bodies found near Juarez, Mexico
  • Turf war between Sinaloa and Juarez drug cartels has escalated recently
  • Authorities: No known link between arrests, weekend shooting that killed 16

(CNN) -- The Mexican military arrested 10 people associated with the Sinaloa drug cartel after three decapitated bodies were found near Juarez, Mexico, a Mexican military operations spokesman told CNN late Wednesday.

The 10 men are facing homicide charges, Juarez police spokesman Jacinto Seguro told CNN.

Enrique Torres, military spokesman for the state of Chihuahua, which includes Juarez, said troops were deployed to a rural area after receiving a tip, and the three bodies were found in a "narco-grave" -- a type of shallow grave used by drug traffickers to hide bodies of their victims.

The suspects were arrested near the U.S. border in a rural part of Juarez called San Isidro, Torres said.

"In their possession we also confiscated seven firearms -- six large and one small -- 19 magazine clips, three vehicles and 2,000 rounds of ammunition," he said.

A news release from the Mexican government said one of the suspects told authorities the victims were killed because of their suspected ties to "La Linea," more commonly known as the Juarez cartel.

An already-violent turf war between the Sinaloa and Juarez cartels was escalated recently by street gangs that the cartels use to fight for power and territory.

Based on a confession from one suspect and testimony from residents in the area, investigators determined that the three victims were assassinated by someone who has close ties to the Sinaloa cartel, the press release said.

The suspect also told the military that he earned up to 10,000 pesos a week, or roughly $772, to act as a lookout in San Isidro for cartel members operating in the area, the news release said. Children recruited as lookouts were being paid between 500 and 1,000 pesos a week, or roughly $40 to $80, to work for the cartel, the press release said.

As of Monday, 230 killings had been recorded in Juarez this year, state attorney general's office spokesman Arturo Sandoval told CNN.

Sixteen people -- including 10 teenagers -- were killed in a weekend shooting in Juarez. Authorities said Wednesday that they knew of no link between the arrests of the 10 suspects and that weekend shooting.