Count of bodies in Mexico mass graves rises to 42

By Mark Stevenson

Associated Press

Published: Monday, Nov. 25 2013 3:11 p.m. MST

In this Nov. 15, 2013 file photo, forensic investigators put a body that was recovered from a mass grave into a vehicle in La Barca, Mexico. The number of bodies found in almost two dozen clandestine graves in western Mexico, near the border between Jalisco and Michoacan states, has risen to 42, after more corpses were discovered over the weekend of Nov. 23-24. The region has become the site of a turf war between the Knights Templar and the New Generation cartels.

Agencia Esquema, File, Associated Press

Enlarge photo»

MEXICO CITY — The number of bodies found in almost two dozen clandestine graves in western Mexico has risen to 42, after five more corpses were discovered over the weekend.

Many of the bodies were bound or gagged. Some showed signs of torture, according to a federal prosecutor who spoke Monday on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to talk to the news media.

The graves are in La Barca near the border between Jalisco and Michoacan states, in a remote area by Lake Chapala, which is popular among tourists and American retirees. The region has become the site of a turf war between the Knights Templar and the New Generation cartels.

Agents were led to the 22 mass graves by local police officers who confessed to working with a drug cartel.

The investigation started off as part of a search for two missing federal detectives. Investigators detained 22 local police officers from the nearby town of Vista Hermosa, Michoacan for questioning, and some of the officers confessed they had handed over the officers and other people to New Generation gunmen.

The missing detectives have not been located nor have their bodies appeared so far in the graves, though excavations continue. Some of the bodies appear to have been buried a year or more. Authorities

Meanwhile, in Fresnillo in the north-central state of Zacatecas, officials reported Monday that they had found the bodies of two women hung from a pedestrian bridge.

The two were found at dawn and the cause of death is still being investigated. Photos published by local media showed that a hand-written banner like the ones often used by drug cartels to leave threatening messages was hung nearby the bodies.

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