Mexico vigilante
Vigilantes patrol the streets of a town in the drug-wracked streets of Michoacan, the Mexican state where 10 burned bodies were recently found. Reuters

The mayor in a western Mexican town has been arrested, along with four police officers, and charged with the murders of 10 people whose bodies were found burned inside a pickup truck.

The blackened corpses were discovered near a gas pipeline in Cuitzeo, said Michoacán Governor Silvano Aureoles according to reports on Tuesday (2 August).

Mayor Juan Carlos Arreygue Nuñez was arrested with the officers from his municipal police force in the town of Álvaro Obregón, 12 miles east of the state capital of Morelia, reports Vice.

Authorities said the mayor gave the order to the police to detain and kill the 10 victims, apparently as part of conflict over control of the illegal drug trade in Michoacán, which has long been wracked by violence linked to narcotics trafficking.

The victims were picked up at a local convenience store and driven away in 3 police cars on Friday 29 July, according to witnesses.

Aureoles said that interviews with people linked to the crime "point directly to the mayor," who officials believe was on the scene when the victims were murdered.

After the victims "were detained, on instructions from the mayor, the civilians were transported to a place in Álvaro Obregón where they were killed," said state prosecutor Jose Martin Godoy. The bodies were then taken to Cuitzeo "where they set them on fire."

The mayor is believed to be linked to the Caballeros Templarios — or Knights Templar —drug cartel. In a reportedly unrelated killing, unidentified gunmen shot dead the mayor of a town in the central Mexican state of Puebla.

Huehuetlan Mayor Jose Santamaria Zavala was found dead beside his SUV on the side of a rural highway. He was the fifth Mexican mayor murdered this year, the Associated Press reported.