Thirty-one bodies buried in two clandestine graves have been exhumed by authorities in western Mexico, officials said Thursday, in a region hit by violence linked to organized crime.
The first grave was found on February 1 in the town of San Isidro Mazatepec in Jalisco state. A second grave was found after several days of investigation and the extraction of bags containing bodies.
“We have already counted 31 victims,” Jalisco state prosecutor Luis Joaquin Mendez told reporters, adding that authorities have evidence to identify about half of the bodies so they can be returned to their families.
Jalisco, which is controlled by the powerful Jalisco New Generation Cartel, is among the Mexican states most heavily impacted by organized crime violence.
Last year, 301 bodies were discovered in the state in 41 clandestine graves, and 544 bodies were found in 2020, the highest number to date.
Mexico’s homicide rate has tripled since 2006 — when an intensification of the government’s war on drug cartels triggered a spiral of violence — from 9.6 murders per 100,000 inhabitants to 28 in 2021.