127 bodies uncovered in north Mexico mass graves

Last Updated: Wednesday, April 13, 2011 - 21:46

Mexico City: At least 11 more bodies were
found in five new mass graves in north Mexico, bringing the
total to 127 corpses uncovered near the US border, with
officials earlier accusing the Zetas drug gang of most of the
killings.

The mass graves in Sinaloa state on the Pacific coast
held 11 bodies, including two of women, an official with
Sinaloa prosecutor`s office told AFP, hours after authorities
said yesterday 116 bodies had been uncovered in graves in
Tamaulipas state, in the northeast.

The Mexican government accused the Zetas gang of the
Tamaulipas killings, but by late yesterday officials had not
late named suspects over the graves found on a Sinaloa ranch.

However a prosecution source said on condition of
anonymity that messages were found on the site apparently
authored by the Zeta group, as well as messages from members
of the Beltran Leyva drug cartel.

Police have detained 17 suspects in the Tamaulipas
cases, and believe gunmen from the notoriously violent cartel
dragged the victims off buses passing through the San Fernando
area of Tamaulipas state.

"We can confirm that a total of 116 people have been
found dead as a result of criminal actions apparently caused
by actions by the Zetas criminal group," Attorney General
Marisela Morales told reporters earlier.

Los Zetas, founded by deserters from the Mexican
special forces and thought to have many corrupt former
officials and ex-police on its payroll, is at the heart of the
narcotics trade and organized crime in Mexico.

Engaged since February 2010 in a turf war for control
of lucrative smuggling routes into the United States with the
Gulf Cartel -- its former employers -- the cartel was blamed
for the massacre of 72 migrants in August in Tamaulipas.

Mexican officials say that, aside from drug smuggling,
the Zetas use extortion and kidnapping to raise money.

The largest concentration of graves ever found in
Mexico was unearthed yesterday in the San Fernando area, about
160 kilometers south of the Texan border, and the grisly toll
has been rising steadily ever since.

Tamaulipas state officials said at least six buses
have been attacked by gunmen this year and several passengers
kidnapped. Residents told local media the real toll is far
higher.

Officials said two buses known to be missing were
carrying mostly Mexicans. However, Guatemala`s foreign
ministry said one of the bodies found in the graves was that
of a 44-year-old Guatemalan man.

Separately, the US consulate in the Tamaulipas city of
Matamoros said at least one American was kidnapped while
traveling in one of the held-up buses.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, April 13, 2011 - 21:46

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