By Ioan Grillo

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - The mutilated corpses of two Mexican photographers were found on Thursday by police in the eastern state of Veracruz, the latest in a series of attacks that have made Mexico one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists.

The bodies of Guillermo Luna and Gabriel Huge were discovered chopped up in garbage bags and dumped in a canal in the town of Boca del Rio, the Veracruz government said in a statement.

Police also found two other corpses in the canal but have not yet identified them.

The government said the killings bore the hallmarks of "organized crime, a term that normally refers to Mexico's drug cartels, and have called for federal investigators to take over the case.

The violence comes as the ultra-violent Zetas gang battles the Sinaloa Cartel over billion-dollar drug trafficking routes up the coast into the United States.

Luna worked for the agency Veracruznews, while Huge had worked until recently for the newspaper Notiver. Huge had received threats in recent months and spent a good deal of time out of the state, according to colleagues.

The discovery comes just five days after the body of Veracruz journalist Regina Martinez was found beaten and suffocated in her home in the town of Xalapa. She worked for Mexico's biggest circulation news magazine Proceso.

Martinez often wrote about drug trafficking, with one recent story about a group of police officers allegedly moonlighting for a local cartel. Her death was condemned by the United Nations' human rights office in Geneva.

In July, assailants also killed veteran Veracruz police reporter Yolanda Ordaz, who worked with Huge in Notiver.

In total, more than 70 journalists have been murdered in Mexico in the last decade, according to the government-funded National Human Rights Commission.

Newspapers have also suffered from grenade and gun attacks on their offices, while Mexican journalists have received hundreds of threats, often making them flee their home.

President Felipe Calderon has waged a five-year offensive against drug gangs and promised to pay special attention to crimes against media workers. News groups complain, however, that very few of the murders are satisfactorily solved.

On Thursday, dozens of journalists marched to protest the murders in the Veracruz city of Minatitlan.

"We demand justice for Martinez and all other journalists who have been killed," Paris-based Reporters Without Borders said in a statement. "Crime pays if it goes unpunished."

Last year, Mexico was the third deadliest country in the world for journalists after Pakistan and Iraq, according to counts by Reporters Without Borders.

(Editing by Philip Barbara)




TOWNHALL MEDIA GROUP