Mass grave filled with 59 bodies found in the heart of Mexico’s cartel territory

A mass grave of 59 people has been discovered by police investigating a recent spate of disappearances in Mexico amid a rise in drug cartel-related violence.

The Head of Mexico's National Commission for the Search of People, Karla Quintana, said the graves of 59 people were found in Salvatierra, Guanajuato, a central suburb of Mexico.

Ms Quintana said the bodies include between 10 and 15 women, with the remainder being young men, including teenagers.

She said there is likely to be other locations following the latest discovery, and reports suggest increased cartel activity in the area, like Jalisco Nueva Generación and Santa Rosa de Lima competing for territory, is to blame.

The detective said the investigation was ongoing and said the bodies had been discovered in "clandestine pits," and speculated "there are several other likely locations."

Addressing press, Ms Quintana added: "We will carry on until we have finished the work here."

State commissioner, Hector Díaz Esquerra, said the discovery was the largest finding the CNBP had made since the foundation of the local commission.

Police are said to have been given a tip-off some weeks ago, resulting in a search that began on 20 October 2020.

The scene was considered so dangerous that the army and National Guard provided security for the excavators.

A team of more than 80 people examined the area in 18-hour daily shifts.

Guanajuato has been considered the most violent state in Mexico since 2018, and is controlled by the lucrative drug trade.

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It recorded 2,250 homicides between January and August of 2020, a more than 25% increase over the same period last year.

Since El Chapo and the Sinaloa cartel's fall, Jalisco Nueva Generación and Santa Rosa de Lima have been competing for territory and control of the drug trade in area.

Violence is understood to be spiralling out of control in the region, and the discovery follows on from the announcement that 17 plastic bags of human remains had been found in the Mexican municipality of Irapuato in late September.

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