updated 12/18/2008 6:05:20 PM ET 2008-12-18T23:05:20

A senior police commander's bullet-riddled body was found in same spot where an apparent hit list naming 26 officers was found days earlier, police said Thursday.

Roberto Ramirez, who headed up the Delicias precinct, was the sixth Ciudad Juarez officer killed this week. He was abducted late Wednesday and his body was found hours later, city police spokesman Jaime Torres said.

Ramirez's body was left near a dog racetrack where the bodies of four civilians were found Monday, along with a hit list that included the names of 26 officers. One of the four had been decapitated, and a Santa Claus hat had been placed on his head. A fifth man who survived was left bound and gagged next to the bodies.

It was not immediately known if Ramirez's name appeared on the list.

Dozens of officers killed this year
More than 40 Ciudad Juarez police have been killed this year, many in attacks blamed on drug gangs battling over territory. Some officers have quit, fearing for their lives after their names appeared on hit lists.

Ramirez was named precinct chief in May after several police commanders asked for early retirement because of the violence.

City police officers have been ordered to patrol only in groups of three, and the city has shut down small guard stations this week because of the police killings, Torres said.

Ciudad Juarez, across the border from El Paso, Texas, has been hit the hardest in a surge of drug-gang homicides sweeping Mexico. More than 1,300 people have been killed in the city of 1.3 million this year.

Decapitated body found
Elsewhere, in the Pacific coast state of Michoacan, a decapitated body was found Thursday along a street in the town of Altamirano with a message believed left by drug gangs, according to a statement from state police. The victim's hands were bound with duct tape and the body's showed signs of being tortured.

Across Mexico, more than 5,300 people have died in gangland-style killings in 2008 — more than double the number last year, according to government figures.

President Felipe Calderon has sent more than 20,000 soldiers across the country to battle the drug trade, but cartels have responded with more violence.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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