A mass killing in the central Honduran city of Comayagua, which authorities believe was probably drug-related, left at least six people dead on Jan. 9.

The victims, all men, were gunned down in the early morning hours inside a house located in the suburbs of the city of 60,000, Leonel Sauceda, a spokesman for the country's Security Secretariat, told the Spanish news agency EFE. Police discovered liquor bottles and six bullet casings at the scene of the crime, Sauceda added.

Authorities probe narcotics links

Investigators believe that the year's first mass killing is likely linked to narcotics trafficking. Sauceda told Agence France-Presse that a relative of one of the victims had been jailed three years ago for selling drugs. Local police official José Luis Flores added his forces had carried out an anti-drug operation at the same house just 10 days earlier.

The victims have been identified as José Ernesto Ramos, brothers Nelson Vegas and Santos Cecilio Reyes, Orlando Josué Orellana, Marvin Josué Montoya, and Rigoberto Hernández. Hilda Euceda, the mother of Vegas and Cecilio, is currently serving time at the women's prison near the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa on drug charges, Sauceda said.

Vegas, Reyes and the other three victims ranged in age from 19 to 24, while Ramos was 42 years old at the time of his death, Sauceda noted.

Massacres as an everyday occurrence

Mass killings are remarkably common in Honduras, and 96 killings of three or more people were reported in the Central American country in 2015, AFP recalled based on figures from the Violence Observatory at Honduras' respected National Autonomous University.

The numbers mean that last year, more than 60 homicides occurred in the nation for every 100,000 inhabitants, which makes for one of the highest murder rates in the world. Local officials told EFE that there are an average of 14 homicide victims per day, largely due to the activities and influence of drug traffickers and other organized crime groups.