MEXICO CITY, May 19 (Reuters) - Seven bodies were dumped in a light truck in the northern Mexican state of Tamaulipas where a battle between drug gangs has sparked a wave of bloody shootouts and massacres, the government said on Monday.
The bodies of four men and three women who have not yet been identified were found late Sunday in the port city of Tampico, according to a statement from a government task force set up last month to respond to the spike in violence across the state.
Mexico's feared Gulf cartel has been battling the Zetas over control of drug and migrant smuggling routes around Nuevo Laredo, the biggest border crossing for trade between the United States and Mexico.
Tamaulipas houses vast deposits of shale resources and major energy installations, including the smallest of the country's six oil refineries.
President Enrique Peña Nieto is trying to rein in drug violence, which has claimed the lives of more than 90,000 Mexicans since former president Felipe Calderon sent out the military to fight gangs at the end of 2006.
Peña Nieto ordered a task force of federal and state officials in April to take over security operations in Tamaulipas amid concerns about corruption in local security forces who were failing to stop a surge in violence.
Earlier this month, a commander of a new elite investigative unit was killed by other police just two months after assuming his post. (Reporting by Lizbeth Diaz; Writing by Michael O'Boyle; Editing by Chris Reese)