Authorities found 11 burned and beheaded bodies Thursday on a road in Mexico's troubled southern state of Guerrero, officials said.
The corpses were found near the town of Chilapa following reports of a shootout, in the latest carnage to hit the state where 43 students were apparently slaughtered in September.
"In addition to being executed, the 11 people were decapitated and subsequently some were burned," said a state government official who requested anonymity.
A note was left near the bodies with a message addressed to the criminal group "Los Ardillos" (The Squirrels), with the words "here's your trash," the official said.
A state police officer said the bodies had high-caliber bullet wounds. The victims appeared to be in their 20s.
The massacre came as President Enrique Pena Nieto prepared to unveil a new security strategy amid angry protests over the case of the 43 college students.
Chilapa is 40 kilometers (25 miles) east of Ayotzinapa, where the teacher-training college of the 43 students is located.
The students, all young men, were attacked by police in the city of Iguala on September 26 and delivered to the Guerreros Unidos drug gang, prosecutors say.
Gang members confessed to killing the students and incinerating their bodies. Authorities have stopped short of declaring them dead pending DNA tests on charred remains.