Their trademark headless victims are now being found on the streets of vacation mecca Acapulco, in the state of Guerrero:
Bloodshed blights Acapulco resort
Page last updated at 01:03 GMT, Sunday, 14 March 2010
Five of the dead were police officers whose patrol was machine gunned.
Eight other bullet-riddled bodies were discovered in different areas around the city – four had been beheaded . .
The Pacific states of Guerrero and neighbouring Michoacan are largely under the control of the powerful “La Familia” cartel . .
The latest bloodshed could not have come at a worse time: it is a holiday weekend in Mexico and the start of the spring break, which brings a surge of American visitors.
At least two of the decapitated victims were dumped close to the centre of Acapulco, on a highway popular with tourists for its scenic views.
Although many Mexicans and foreigners continue to choose Acapulco as a holiday destination, Saturday’s events seem to confirm that its reputation as an idyllic destination is long gone, he adds.