A local politician and his wife and two sons have been brutally killed in the southeastern Mexican state of Tabasco.

Jose Francisco Fuentes, 43, was beheaded, his sons aged eight and 10 were suffocated and his wife was shot in the head, local news media said on Sunday, citing police sources.

State officials confirmed that Fuentes, 43, a candidate for state legislature with the powerful Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) who lived in the state capital Villahermosa, was killed along with his wife and children but provided no other details.

Beheadings and suffocations, often with plastic bags taped over the victim's heads, are the grisly trademark of criminals involved in Mexico's drug cartels.