Authorities in Mexico said they have found a huge grave that contains the remains of 166 or more people. The grave was located in the state of Veracruz and is the latest mass grave in an area marred by thousands of disappearances, violence sponsored by the government and bloody battles between drug cartels.
The Attorney General for Veracruz Jorge Winckler spoke during a news conference late this week that the grave had been discovered after a witness had tipped off the authorities approximately a month ago.
Since then, investigators have uncovered 166 skulls, said Winckler. They also located over 200 garments as well as other personal items that included over 100 IDs.
Winckler did not disclose where the grave was located citing security reasons he would not discuss. Investigators were able to find the remains using radar and drones.
The bodies have been buried two or more years, said authorities.
Over 35,000 people have been reported disappeared in the country including close to 9,000 women and 6,300 minors, said data from the National Registry for Data on Disappeared and Missing Persons.
The massive grave is not the first uncovered in the state. In 2016 family members became frustrated with inaction by the government and started searching on their own for their loved ones and found over 250 bodies in a nearby abandoned lot.
One mother of a former state investigator whose remains had been identified at that site said that her son thought he would help clean Mexico of the bad people, but instead he was killed.
Many of the mass graves in the state are believed to be linked to Javier Duarte a former governor of the state. He was extradited to Mexico from Guatemala and is behind bars awaiting trial for corruption.
Duarte denies wrongdoing.
One of the oldest and largest ports in Mexico is in the state of Veracruz and drug gangs like the Zetas and the Jalisco New Generation Cartel have carried out battles over control of the area.
Winckler added this week that the relatives of people who disappeared in the area had not been invited to take part in the search last month for reasons of security and guarantee success of the overall investigation.
Instead Winckler added they are going to be shown a catalog of different photos of things recovered from the mass grave to help with identifying victims.