efe-epaMexico City

Five men were shot and killed at a drug rehabilitation center in Morelia, capital of the western Mexican state of Michoacan, authorities and local media said Wednesday.

The still unidentified bodies show signs of apparent gunshot wounds and were taken to the coroner's office for autopsies, the state Attorney General's Office said in a statement.

It remains unclear whether the fatalities were patients or employees of the establishment.

The bodies were found Wednesday morning at the "Fundacion Dios te Bendiga" (God Bless You Foundation) rehabilitation center, located on an unpaved road in Isaac Arriaga, a neighborhood on Morelia's east side.

The five bodies were found with bullet wounds, their hands bound and signs of torture, local media reported.

After a call was placed to emergency services, police officers and personnel from the state AG's office were dispatched to the scene.

"Elements from the AG's office are still making inquiries at the site to learn the circumstances surrounding the (crime) and clear up what happened," that department said.

A total of 653 intentional homicides were registered between January and May of this year in Michoacan, one of Mexico's most violent states, according to official figures.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's administration created the National Guard, a new security force made up of elements of the army, navy and federal police, in a bid to combat high rates of violent crime.

That force began to be officially deployed in July, seven months after Lopez Obrador took office, while a gradual rollout of as many as 4,050 National Guard agents is to take place in Michoacan.

The Mexican government's goal is to reverse a trend of rising violent crime in a country where 33,369 murders were registered last year, the highest tally since records began in 1997. EFE-EPA

er/mc