Score of bodies found in northeastern Mexico

Handout photo that shows some bodies and torched vehicles at the site where authorities on Jan. 9, 2019, found 20 corpses in the northeastern Mexican municipality of Miguel Aleman, Tamaulipas state, near the United States-Mexico border. EPA-EFE/BEST QUALITY POSSIBLE

Reynosa, Mexico, Jan 10 (efe-epa).- Mexican authorities have discovered 20 bodies – including 17 charred corpses inside of vehicles – in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas, officials said Thursday.

The remains were found Wednesday in the municipality of Miguel Aleman near the United States-Mexico border, the state Attorney General’s Office said in a statement.

Army soldiers and state security forces reported the discovery of the bodies, as well as four pick-up trucks and a sedan that had been torched, the AG’s office added.

An armed clash erupted in the area Wednesday morning involving members of rival gangs battling for control of drug- and migrant-smuggling routes through Miguel Aleman and the adjacent municipality of Mier, according to the preliminary investigation.

Both of those municipalities border the US state of Texas.

Some of the dead were wearing military-type camouflage clothing, bulletproof vests and tactical gear.

The Gulf cartel currently controls the area, known as the “frontera chica,” but it is being hotly contested by members of the Cartel del Noreste, formed by former members of the Zetas drug cartel.

Tamaulipas, one of Mexico’s most dangerous states, has been rocked for years by battles among rival drug cartels and between the criminals and the security forces.