San Fernando body count reaches 88 after new arrest

Tamauilpas Forensic Center in Matamoros

The official body count in mass graves found south of the border in San Fernando, Tamaulipas has now reached 88 people following the arrest of a new suspect.

Mexico's Ministry of National Defense (SEDENA) reported that Mexican soldiers made the discoveries on Sunday.

SEDENA officials said soldiers arrested Armando Cesar Morales-Uscanga during a Sunday operation.

Morales-Uscanga allegedly admitted his participation in the kidnapping and murder of people kidnapped from passenger buses on March 24 and 29th in San Fernando.

New Graves

It's not clear if Morales-Uscanga is affiliated with any particular criminal organization but SEDENA officials said he provided information that led to the discovery of 16 bodies in four new mass grave sites.

Authorities are continuing their search for more bodies but Morales-Uscanga allegedly admitted to participating in the murder and burial of at least 43 people.

SEDENA officials report that Morales-Uscanga was arrested with an assault rifle and $2,942 dollars as well as $22,590 pesos.

The El Sol de Irapauto newspaper reported that a total of 214 bodies have been found in ranches outside San Fernando over the past few days.

Authorities are not confirming those numbers but report the body count is now at 88 people.

Some reports indicate that woman and children are among the victims but authorities are not confirming that information at this time.

Family Members

In the meantime, the families of missing people from across Mexico are flocking to Matamoros where most of the 72 bodies found last week have been taken for DNA testing.

Many of the families have posted missing persons flyers of their loved ones.

Most of those missing disappeared in or around San Fernando or on bus routes or while driving to Tampico.

Tamaulipas State Police investigators are expected to resume interviews to identify the bodies on Monday morning.