[Warning: Post contains graphic images.] Mexican investigators said Thursday they have discovered 166 human skulls in a clandestine burial pit in a central area of the Gulf state of Veracruz.
This is of the largest mass graves discovered in Mexico, and is presumed to be the work of drug cartels.
Jorge Winckler, a state prosecutor in Veracruz, said that for security reasons he would not reveal the location of the site.
Mexican drug cartels often use clandestine burial sites to dispose of their victims' bodies.
At the beginning of August 2018, the Special Prosecutor for Missing Persons managed to identify and obtain testimony from a person who pointed to a specific point in the center of the state of Veracruz where hundreds of people were secretly interred.
Based on this testimony, on August 8, inspection was carried out in the place this person indicated to authorities.
The mass grave site was located in part through the use of UAV drones and search probes that worked an area of 300 square meters, where the remains of at least 166 people were later exhumed.
From the Associated Press:
Winckler said the bodies were buried at least two years ago and did not rule out finding more remains. He said investigators had found 114 ID cards in the field, which held about 32 burial pits.
Clothes, personal possession and other parts of skeletons also were recovered, but investigators focused on the skulls in counting, because each corresponds to one person.
Veracruz was the scene of bloody turf battles between the Zetas and Jalisco drug cartels, but the state also suffered waves of kidnappings and extortions.
Winckler said prosecutors found the field after a witness told them that "hundreds of bodies" were buried there.
Investigators used drones, probes and ground-penetrating radar to locate the pits and began digging about a month ago.
Winckler said groups of relatives of missing people who perform their own searches for graves were not invited to participate in this one to maintain secrecy. He said they would be shown photos of items found at the site in a bid to help identify the remains.
[photos: via Excelsior MX]