Mexico marked another murderous milestone in its conflict with organised crime as the monthly homicide rate hit its highest level in 20 years.
Government statistics showed that 2,186 murders were committed in May, surpassing the previous monthly high of 2,131 in May 2011, according to a review of records that date back to 1997.
Mexico recorded 9,916 murders in the first five months of 2017, roughly a 30% increase over the same period last year.
The situation has hit such calamitous levels in states such as Guerrero, to south of Mexico City – where armed groups are fighting for control of the heroin industry – that morgues there have been unable to handle the dead bodies.
Analysts say the surging violence stems from various factors, including the increased cultivation of heroin to meet US demand and the legalisation of marijuana in some US states, which has caused cartel profits to plummet and prompted criminal groups to diversify into crimes such as kidnap and extortion.