During a search for seven young people reported missing last week, at least 45 bags containing human remains were discovered in a ravine in the western Mexican state of Jalisco, local authorities said on Thursday.
“Forty-five bags with human remains have been extracted that belong to both male and female people,” the state prosecutor’s office said in a statement.
The horrifying find was made on Tuesday in the municipality of Zapopan, a suburb of Guadalajara, a significant industrial center, at the bottom of a gully measuring 40 meters (120 feet).
Two ladies and five men, all around 30 years old, had been reported missing since May 20. The authorities had started looking for them.
Investigators discovered that although each of them had filed separate missing persons reports on various days, they all worked at the same contact center.
The location of the call center was close to where the body parts were found.
Both the number of victims and their identities have yet to be ascertained by forensic experts.
Initial investigations indicated that the call center might have been involved in criminal activities, and local media stated that officials had discovered marijuana, a cloth and a cleaning rag with what appeared to be blood stains, as well as documentation on potential commercial activity.
However, the missing’s family members alleged that the police were attempting to criminalize the victims.
Human bones have been discovered in bags or unmarked improvised graves in recent years in various parts of Jalisco.
The bones of 11 persons were discovered in 70 bags in the municipality of Tonala in Jalisco in 2021.
And in 119 bags in a remote part of Zapopan in 2019, 29 people’s bodies were discovered.
The abduction of three film students in March 2018 and the subsequent dissolution of their bodies in acid was another incident that led to several protests in Jalisco.
In 2018, media outlets reported that three Italians who had reportedly sold defective machinery to the Jalisco New Generation cartel were abducted after being supposedly handed over by authorities.
Despite extensive searches by state and federal law enforcement, the Italians have not been located.
In five improvised graves in the Guadalajara region, the remains of 33 persons were reportedly discovered in the first two months of this year alone, according to local media.
One of Mexico’s most powerful organized criminal organizations, the Jalisco New Generation cartel operates in the state and is involved in conflicts with other drug trafficking organizations.
Since the start of a contentious military anti-drug offensive in December 2006, Mexico has recorded more than 340,000 killings and over 100,000 disappearances, with the majority being blamed on criminal groups.