On Friday, three people were found with their hands hacked off beside a highway in the town of Silao, 20 miles south of Leon, Mexico. A woman aged 22, together with two men aged 23 and 25, are said to have been dealt with by a feared Mexican drug cartel after being accused of stealing.

The victims were blindfolded with their hands and legs bound together to keep them from escaping, while their severed wrists had also been tightly bound to stop them from bleeding to death.

Locals called paramedics who brought the victims to the hospital in serious condition. The medics also took the severed hands and placed them in a bag of ice in the hopes of reattaching the limbs as they were still fresh wounds.

Residents in the area have since been in a panic after the trio were dumped from a vehicle along with a bag containing their severed limbs. A note was also found that was signed with the initials CJNG, which stands for the notorious Jalisco Nueva Generación Cartel. The group is considered to be Mexico's most dangerous cartel.

The note reads: "This happened to me because I am a thief who does not respect good, hard-working people. Whoever continues to steal, this will happen to them."

In a story from El Universal, the trio told reporters they had been kidnapped from the local area where they reside by a vehicle that none of them recognised. They were then beaten prior to having their limbs severed.

Police who arrived at the scene collected evidence and are now conducting an investigation to identify any leads to the suspects.

Jalisco Nueva Generación Cártel gained their notoriety after being hired by El Chapo's Sinaloa Cartel as foot soldiers during their war against the Los Zetas cartel. They have since taken over their paymaster's territory which runs coast to coast in Mexico.

The members of the CJNG are also known to cannibalise some of their victims as part of their initiation rites.

CJNG's leader Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes is listed as Mexico's most-wanted person after the arrest of one of America's most-wanted, El Chapo. Cervantes carries a $10 million (£ 7.5 million) bounty on his head for anyone who can offer information leading to his capture.

The cartel is listed as a foreign terror organisation by the United States.

Mexico drug war
Mexico's Human Rights Commission found that the federal police executed about two dozen members of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel in May 2015 as part of the ongoing drug war - Representational image Reuters