Mexican prosecutors find 166 skulls in mass graves
Mexico City – Investigators said Thursday they have found 166 skulls in clandestine burial pits in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz, one of the biggest mass graves discovered so far in Mexico.
Veracruz state prosecutor Jorge Winckler said that for security reasons he would not reveal the location of the site.
Mexican drug cartels frequently use clandestine pits to dispose of their victims.
Winckler said the bodies were buried at least two years ago and did not rule out finding more remains. He said investigators had found 114 ID cards in the field, which held about 32 burial pits.
Clothes, personal possession and other parts of skeletons also were recovered, but investigators focused on the skulls in counting, because each corresponds to one person.
Veracruz was the scene of bloody turf battles between the Zetas and Jalisco drug cartels, but the state also suffered waves of kidnappings and extortions.
Winckler said prosecutors found the field after a witness told them that “hundreds of bodies” were buried there.
Investigators used drones, probes and ground-penetrating radar to locate the pits and began digging about a month ago.
Winckler said groups of relatives of missing people who perform their own searches for graves were not invited to participate in this one to maintain secrecy. He said they would be shown photos of items found at the site in a bid to help identify the remains.
Maria de Lourdes Rosales Calvo, who has been searching for her son Jonatten Celma Rosales since he was abducted with his girlfriend in July 2013, said the news of the newly discovered grave “gives hope.”
“They await us in forensics next week to look at the belongings and IDs that were found,” she said.