ROSARITO, Mexico (Reuters) - Four people believed to be Americans were shot in the head and dumped in a notorious drug-smuggling area in northern Mexico near the border with California, Mexican police said on Monday.
Police in the beach town of Rosarito, across the border from San Diego, said they discovered the bodies of three men and a woman on Sunday in an abandoned car in a remote patch of scrubland near the Pacific coast.
"The bodies had been there for at least a week. They were spotted by local people out hunting," a municipal police spokesman said.
Police concluded the victims were U.S. citizens because the vehicle had California license plates, the three men were of African-American appearance, the woman was Caucasian and a U.S. driver's license was found in the car, the spokesman said.
The remote area is one of many along the border used by drug gangs to smuggle marijuana and cocaine into the United States, police said.
Violence from Mexico's vicious war between rival cartels and the police and army has spilled over from the rough nearby city of Tijuana into once-quiet Rosarito and its outlying areas as gangs fight over smuggling routes into California.
Some 1,300 people have been killed in drug violence across Mexico this year and more than 2,500 died in 2007.
(Reporting by Lizbeth Diaz; Writing by Robin Emmott; Editing by John O'Callaghan)