Searching for the hidden graves of missing persons in Tamaulipas has turned up more than just bodies over the past six years.
A non-governmental organization dedicated to searching for the missing has found at least 50 narco-camps, used by crime gangs to bury or incinerate the remains of their victims and other purposes.
The president of Milynali, Graciela Pérez Rodríguez, told the newspaper Reforma that human remains have also been found at the camps, located mostly in central and southern Tamaulipas.
Relatives of the missing began searching for their loved ones in 2010 after criminal organizations started fighting for control of the state.
Pérez blames the proliferation of the camps on authorities’ excessive tolerance and fear of reprisals on the part of citizens should they report them.
She offered as an example the town of Xicoténcatl, where a narco-camp was discovered a mere 200 meters from a residential area.
“I’ve always said that if this is happening it cannot be fortuitously or in a hidden way . . . everybody could see the comings and goings of the criminals. These are large camps.”
The state Attorney General’s office (PGJE) identified 280 mass graves between 2006 and 2016, ranking Tamaulipas as second only to Veracruz, where 332 mass graves have been found.
However, Tamaulipas tops the list of missing persons, with nearly 6,000 cases recorded in the last decade.
The PGJE has consolidated a database of missing persons and unidentified bodies that is designed to be shared at the national level and to aid in finding and identifying the people on it.