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Body count rises to 67 in La Barca, Jalisco

December 2, 2013

Mexican authorities have reportedly concluded excavating the clandestine graves in the town of La Barca, Jalisco, where 67 corpses have been uncovered in the last three weeks.

The mass graves were the worst discovered in Mexico since 193 bodies were found in San Fernando, Tamaulipas in June 2011.

The dead are thought to be victims of the ongoing turf war between the Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generacion (CJNG) and the Knights Templar based in neighboring Michoacan. At least two women and a minor were among the dead and Mexican daily Milenio reported that many of the bodies were marked with tattoos of a red cross, a symbol used by the Knights Templar.

Located beside the Rio Lerma near the border with Michoacan, the graves were first discovered on November 9 as the federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR) searched for two federal police officers who had disappeared six days earlier and have yet to be found. This investigation led to the arrest of three civilians and 22 municipal police officers in nearby Vista Hermosa on November 7.

Edit (December 3): At pains to avoid any suggestion that this atrocity occurred under his watch, Jalisco Governor Aristoteles Sandoval said on Tuesday that the victims were from Michoacan and that their remains were buried in Jalisco over a year ago, before he took up office.

“Municipal police in Michoacan arrested them there, they deprived these people of their liberty there, and then they just crossed the river and dumped them in Jalisco,” Sandoval said.

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