MEXICO CITY (AP) — A Mexican search group said Wednesday that it found 59 bodies in a series of clandestine burial pits in the north-central state of Guanajuato and that more could still be excavated.
The head of the official National Search Commission, Karla Quintana, said excavations began a week ago based on a tip from relatives of missing people. Given the deficiencies of local law enforcement in Mexico, relatives of missing people in many states have formed their own search groups, collecting information and exploring possible body dumping sites and clandestine graves.
Quintana called it “a sad and terrible discovery.” She added that there were more “possible positive sites” where more bodies could be found, and that work would continue.
The bodies were extracted over the last week from 52 pits at a property on the outskirts of the Guanajuato city of Salvatierra. The scene was considered dangerous enough that the army and National Guard provided security for the excavations.
Guanajuato has the largest number of homicides of any state in Mexico, and has been the scene of bloody turf battles between the Jalisco cartel and local gangs backed by the Sinaloa cartel.
It was the largest such burial site found to date in Guanajuato, though bigger clandestine burial sites have been excavated in the past in other parts of Mexico.