Last week, 19 bodies were discovered in 11 hidden graves on private land in the crime-plagued municipality of Tecomán, Colima.
Yesterday, the state attorney general’s office (FGE) announced that 50 more bodies had been found in another 38 hidden graves on an adjacent plot, bringing the body count to 69.
The FGE said the second discovery was made after state police carried out an operation in Tecomán that resulted in the arrest of two men and the liberation of two people they had kidnapped.
An investigation of the property where the victims had been held revealed 38 more clandestine burial sites. The bodies were transferred to the coroner’s office for autopsies and DNA testing to discover the identities of the victims.
Authorities said they had met with family members of missing persons to collect DNA samples to be compared with the biological data obtained from the victims.
The FGE specified that of the bodies unearthed in the most recent find, all were adults and some showed signs of having been dead for at least five years.
The attorney general’s office said it would not rule out the possibility of finding more hidden graves and that it would continue the investigation to identify the culprits and their motive for the murders.
The Pacific coast state of Colima has been one of Mexico’s most violent for several consecutive years. Authorities have said that one reason is that drug gangs, principally the Jalisco New Generation Cartel and the Sinaloa Cartel, are fighting over the port of Manzanillo.
According to the National Human Rights Commission, in the last 11 years 1,300 hidden graves have been discovered throughout Mexico, at least 200 of them in the states of Chihuahua, Durango and Veracruz.