Morelia, Mexico - The bodies of 16 people have been found in two mass graves in two Mexican states torn by drug-related violence, state authorities.

Thirteen bodies were uncovered in the western state of Michoacan, and three more in Sinaloa in the north-west.

In the larger find, the bodies of six men, five women and two minors were uncovered.

Their identities were not immediately known, but preliminary investigation suggests they were members of a family abducted back in August by gunmen.

The bodies were found near Apatzingan, the commercial hub of a region call Tierra Caliente, where the vigilante groups formed started to form a year ago to defend themselves from killings, extortion and kidnappings by the Knights Templar drug cartel.

The groups have taken control of 20 towns and villages including Apatzingan.

In the other find, the bodies of three young people turned up in a common grave in a coastal area called El Playon in Sinaloa. They had been buried for more than three months, the state prosecutor's office said. It gave no more details.

Sinaloa is torn by violence from the cartel of the same name. It is considered Mexico's most powerful cartel, and its leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman was arrested in the coastal town of Mazatlán on February 22. - Sapa-AFP