Deputy warden Hernández. Deputy warden Hernández.

Prison warden killed, mass grave found

Homicides have increased 600% so far this year in Los Cabos

A deputy prison warden was killed Monday in Los Cabos, Baja California Sur, and half a dozen bodies were found a day later in a hidden grave in the same municipality. By Wednesday, the grave’s body count was 14.

Carlos Paúl Hernández Cota, 37, was driving through the Costa Dorada residential development in San José del Cabo when a group of armed men opened fire.

After paramedics attended the scene he was transferred to a hospital but later died.

Originally from Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Hernández had been deputy warden at the Los Cabos Social Reinsertion Center (Cereso) for five years.

Interviewed by the newspaper El Universal, the deputy Public Security Secretary of the state described Hernández as “a young lawyer, dedicated to improving the penitentiary system.”

Ismael Sigala Páez said he had no knowledge of any threats having been issued against him.

On Tuesday, officials with the state Attorney General’s office found a mass grave between San José del Cabo and Cabo Pulmo containing the corpses of four men and two women.

Another eight were found yesterday, said the Attorney General’s office, which said all 14 were in an advanced state of decomposition and could only be identified through DNA analysis.

The office issued a call to families whose relatives have disappeared to submit DNA samples in order to assist with the identification process.

Violence in Los Cabos has worsened in the last seven months, leaving a tally of 177 deaths related to confrontations between warring drug trafficking gangs. A military presence in the resort municipality has intensified since January in response.

But homicides are up 600% so far this year, according to official numbers.

Source: El Universal (sp), Animal Político (sp), Reforma (sp)

UPDATED June 8: This story has been updated with new information about the mass grave.

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