Fifty-nine bodies were found buried in a series of pits in the northern Mexico state of Tamaulipas, near the site where suspected drug gang members massacred 72 migrants last summer, officials said.
Security forces investigating reports that a passenger bus had been hijacked in the area conducted a raid that netted 11 suspected kidnappers and freed five kidnap victims.
Then they made a grisly discovery – a total of eight pits, containing a total of 59 corpses. One of the pits held 43 dead.
The bodies are being examined to determine whether they were bus passengers who were reportedly abducted March 25, the Tamaulipas state government said in statement in which it “energetically condemned” the crimes.
The statement did not identify what drug gang, if any, that the 11 arrested suspects belonged to, or why they might have hijacked the bus.
The pits were found in the farm hamlet of La Joya in the township of San Fernando, in the same area where the bodies of 72 migrants, most from Central America, were found shot to death on August 24 at a ranch.
The area is about 80 miles from the border at Brownsville, Texas.
Authorities blamed that massacre on the Zetas drug gang, which is fighting its one-time allies in the Gulf cartel for control of the region.
The victims in the August massacre were illegal immigrants from El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Ecuador and Brazil. An Ecuadorean and Honduran survived the attack, which Mexican authorities say occurred after the migrants refused to work for the cartel.
Mexican drug cartels have taken to recruiting migrants, common criminals and youths, Mexican authorities say.