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Mexico City - Nine dismembered bodies have been found in a van in Veracruz, the governor of the south-eastern state said Sunday, adding that they appeared to be the victims of a feud between gangs.

One of the suspects in the killings was killed by security forces as he tried to escape, governor Miguel Angel Yunes told a press conference.

The bodies were discovered late Saturday in Xalapa, the capital of Veracruz, and several of the victims had already been identified as members of a drug cartel, Yunes said.

Three notes were discovered among the bodies, containing threats from the notorious Los Zetas cartel against the security forces.

Yunes announced that the army was being deployed to maintain security in Xalapa, where five human heads were last week discovered in an abandoned taxi.

The initials CJNG were written on the vehicle, shorthand for the Jalisco Nueva Generacion cartel, which is in a fierce battle for control of the regional drug trade with Los Zetas.