Mexico is facing an upsurge in gang-related killings ahead of state and city elections.
In the country’s most murderous city, Ciudad Juarez on the border with Texas, there were more than 300 assassinations in the single month of June.
The most recent victims include a deputy state prosecutor and one of her bodyguards. Seperately, a severed head was left outside the home of the frontrunner in Sunday’s mayoral election.
There are elections for governor in 12 Mexican states and it is believed drugs cartels are upping the violence in an attempt to intimidate and influence candidates. At stake for the gangs are lucrative drugs routes into the United States.
Mexican president Felipe Calderon launched a military-backed crackdown to break the cartels soon after arriving in office at the end of 2006. Since then, more than 26,000 people have died in drug-related killings across the country.