72 bodies, 58 men and 14 women, were discovered by the Mexican navy Tuesday night on a ranch that is about 14 miles from San Fernando and near to the Texas border. All of the bodies were located in an above ground structure on the ranch. The navy has labeled this one of the largest body discoveries since the war on organized crime began. The authorities are fingerprinting the bodies to try to identify the deceased.
The navy was sent to the site by a man with a gunshot wound who approached a roadblock. After he reported being injured by a criminal gang, the navy went to the scene to investigate the case. Upon their arrival a gunfight ensued, resulting in the deaths of one officer and three of the criminals. Later they discovered a cache of concealed weapons that included rifles, camouflage uniforms, and bulletproof vests. In a subsequent search, the bodies were found.
The Mexico City based newspaper, El Universal, reported that most of the victims appeared to be illegal immigrants headed to the U.S..
Just a month ago, nine mass graves containing 51 bodies was discovered in Nuevo Leon. The bodies of those males, ranging in age from 20 to 50, appeared to have been burned inside of steel drums.
Mass graves have been found all over the country since May. They are all the result of an ongoing drug war that has taken ahold of the country and scared many residents and visitors away.
Rival cartels, fighting each other, have caused the increase in violence to the area. Nuevo Leon mayor Edelmiro Cavazos Leal’s body was discovered last week and it appears he was tortured.
The war on organized crime began in December of 2006, and since then more than 28,000 deaths have occurred. A majority of those deaths involved cartel members and other criminals.
(map via CIA Factbook)