The bound bodies of six men were found on a Mexican street, alongside a handwritten warning from a drugs cartel.
The Michoacán state prosecutors' office said in a statement that the bodies found in the city of Uruapan had bullet wounds. In photographs, the bodies appear to have their hands bound behind their backs, and their heads wrapped in packing tape.
"We are here now, and we are here to save you, Respectfully, the Michoacán New Generation Cartel," reads the note.
Based in the neighbouring state of Jalisco, the cartel has been battling the Knights Templar cartel for control of Michoacán's drugs trade.
Following a popular insurrection against the Knights Templar from armed groups of locals backed by police and Mexican armed forces, New Generation is moving in to wrest control of lucrative drug supplying routes.
Cartel on the run
Knights Templar leader Servando Gómez Martínez, nicknamed La Tuta (The Teacher) is currently on the run and is believed to be in hiding in the mountains of Michoacán.
The body of his brother, Aquiles Gomez, was found with bullet wounds in the Pacific coastal city of Lazaro Cardenas.
Despite the Knight's Templar's weakening grip on power, many say that Michoacán remain unstable and violent.
"It is hasn't improved; this has all been cosmetic," writer and activist Homero Aridjis told AP. "There has been a political strategy, of declaring this (the security crisis) is over by decree."
He said that armed bands roamed the countryside, stealing horses and livestock from farmers.
"This is destroying the farm economy, which is vital," Aridjis said.