At a morgue in Mexico, forensic technicians unload some of the dismembered bodies that were found alongside a highway.

Story highlights

Prosecutor: Investigators are working to determine victims' ages, genders and IDs

The incident could be linked to a kidnapping that occurred nearby, a state prosecutor says

Authorities find 15 dismembered bodies inside two vehicles on a highway

Five months ago, 26 bodies were found inside vehicles in Guadalajara

Mexico City CNN  — 

Mexican authorities were investigating Wednesday after finding the dismembered bodies of 15 people inside two vehicles on a highway in western Mexico, state media reported.

Investigators were working to determine the ages, genders and identities of the victims, Jalisco state Attorney General Tomas Coronado Olmos said.

The bodies, found in two vehicles on a highway between the cities of Guadalajara and Chapala, could be connected with the kidnapping of 12 people in a nearby municipality, Coronado said, according to the state-run Notimex news agency.

The discovery occurred more than five months after authorities found 26 bodies in three vehicles near a monument on one of Guadalajara’s main avenues.

Jalisco state has seen an increase in violence since 2008, as clashes increase between drug cartels over trafficking routes and local drug sales.

Several weeks after the bodies were found in November, state prosecutors said they had arrested three men who masterminded those killings. The suspects, they said, were members of the Milenio cartel, which is allied with the Zetas and fighting for territory in the region with the powerful Sinaloa cartel.

More than 47,000 people have been killed in drug-related violence since Mexican President Felipe Calderon announced a crackdown on cartels in December 2006, according to government statistics. But brutal cartel killings have been less common in Guadalajara, Mexico’s second-most populous city. contributed to this report.