Body count from Mexican mass graves nears 300

MEXICO CITY Wed Apr 27, 2011 10:57am EDT

A forensic worker stands next to a truck parked outside the La Piedad embalming building in Mexico City, and containing 50 bodies found in a mass grave in northern Mexico, April 19, 2011. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso

A forensic worker stands next to a truck parked outside the La Piedad embalming building in Mexico City, and containing 50 bodies found in a mass grave in northern Mexico, April 19, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Carlos Jasso

Related Topics

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - The number of murder victims unearthed in mass graves in northern Mexico this month has risen to 279, making it easily the worst discovery of its kind since the government began a campaign against drug cartels.

Attorney General Marisela Morales said on Tuesday the body count from 40 graves in the border state of Tamaulipas had risen to 183 while an official in the state of Durango, farther west, said 96 older corpses had been uncovered in two separate finds.

"The excavations will continue today and they will probably find more bodies," the Durango official said on Wednesday, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The mass killings have become an increasing headache for President Felipe Calderon in his bid to bring the cartels to heel. More than 37,000 people have died in the country's drug war since it began in late 2006.

Disputes over how to conduct the crackdown have frayed relations with Washington, Mexico's co-sponsor in the drug war.

The Mexican government has blamed the Zetas cartel for the Tamaulipas deaths, which have led to 74 arrests, among them 17 police officers. It has yet to identify suspects in Durango.

The two graves in Durango are in the state capital, also known as Durango, where 21 additional bodies were found buried in a housing estate on Tuesday, the official said.

Almost none of the victims have been identified, although drug war experts believe many of the dead in Tamaulipas were probably migrant workers who refused to cooperate with the gangs.

(Reporting by Miguel Angel Gutierrez and Dave Graham; Editing by Bill Trott)

FILED UNDER:
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (1)
Blackbird1996 wrote:
This is why the southern U.S. states are passing new immigration laws and complaining about how the Federal Government isn’t doing enough to enforce our southern border. NOT because of racism as the mass media and anti-border/pro-illegal immigration people would have you believe. For anyone to suggest that the U.S. is anti-immigration is absolutely ridiculous. The U.S. is the most open and inviting country in the world. We allow more immigrants to come to our country legally than any other country, about 1 million or so per year, and we openly encourage people to come to our country and become Americans. In addition, we treat those who come here illegally extremely well, and through the manipulation of our system they take advantage of our public benefits, including child support, providing education, and supplying them with many other benefits, including basic healthcare via hospitals. All these services provided without them paying any taxes other than sales tax. The border is becoming extremely dangerous with the equivalent of refugees walking across the border and our government is not sufficiently addressing the problem, period.

Apr 27, 2011 2:04pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.