59 bodies found in eight mass graves near San Fernando
Wed, 06 Apr 2011 22:42:28 GMT —
Mexican officials are investigating a gruesome discovery south of the border in San Fernando, Tamaulipas.
San Fernando residents first reported via Twitter on Wednesday morning that a mass 'narcograve' had been found in the Ejido La Joya.
Mexico's Attorney General's Office (PGR) confirmed on Wednesday afternoon that they are investigating a report of a mass grave in the San Fernando, Tamaulipas area.
An agency spokesperson told Action 4 News that there is no formal report but federal officials are at the site investigating the crime scene.
The Tamaulipas Attorney General's Office (PGJE) reported that a total of 59 bodies have been pulled from eight mass graves in the Ejido La Joya on Wednesday.
Authorities found 11 bodies in the first six graves. Another 43 bodies were found in the seventh grave while five bodies were found in the eighth grave.
PGJE officials reported that the investigation started with the kidnapping of 25 passengers of a passenger bus on March 25th.
The case led to 11 arrests and five victims being rescued last week.
The identities of the suspects were not released but state officials are working to confirm the identities of the bodies found in the graves.
In a statement released on Wednesday evening, Tamaulipas Gov. Egidio Torre-Cantu condemned the murders and vowed a joint investigation to find those responsible.
Federal officials are also investigating if any of those bodies may be those of 40 immigrants who were kidnapped from two passenger buses back on March 17th and April 5th, 2010.
PGR officials reported that the buses were in San Luis Potosi and headed to the United States when they were hijacked.
Family members reported receiving ransom demands ranging from $100 to $1,300 American dollars.
The kidnappers threatened family members and told them not to go to authorities.
The immigrants were never seen again but PGR officials sent a bulletin last week reporting that four men had been arrested in connection to the case.
The men were identified as: Bernardo Gonzalez-Jimenez, Esteban Garcia-Perez, Arturo Mayorga-Villeda and J. Abel Garay-Martinez
It's not clear if the arrests led to the discovery of the mass grave.
Located about 90 miles south of Brownsville, San Fernando is no stranger to violence and kidnappings.
The ranching and agricultural town was a focal point for violence between former allies the Gulf Cartel and the Zetas back in the spring of 2010.
The beleaguered city has also been the location of numerous clashes between the Mexican military and drug traffickers.
Last August, the Mexican Navy found the bodies of 72 slain immigrants in a ranch outside San Fernando.
Only one immigrant survived and managed to tell authorities.
The Mexican government made arrests in the case but is still offering a $5 million peso reward to capture those responsible.
The American Consulate in Matamoros still has a travel warning in effect for highways going through San Fernando.
Consul Michael Barkin told Action 4 News in a past interview that many Americans have reported being carjacked in the area.
The carjackings did not target any specific type of vehicle and reportedly took place at different times of the day and night.
Alto Bonito missionary Nancy Davis was killed during a botched carjacking between San Fernando and Reynosa back in late January.
No arrests have been made in Davis' death.