Although the bodies are yet to be examined, the mass grave in San Pedro is likely to become Mexico’s largest related to drug violence.
Several mass graves containing the bodies of at least 340 victims, who are believed to have been killed in the deadliest massacre known to date, have been found around the city of Durango since February of 2012.
In 2011, 193 people were killed and buried in eight graves by Los Zetas drug cartel at La Joya ranch in the San Fernando municipality. The investigation that followed uncovered appalling details – female victims had been raped and the male victims had been forced to fight with each other to the death in bouts similar to the gladiator fights of ancient Rome.
Mass killings and forced disappearances fueled by continuous gang violence and cartel wars are frequent in Mexico. In one crime that has resonated in Mexican society since 2014, 43 students from the Ayotzinapa Rural Normal School went missing in the city of Iguala.
In April of this year, the Mexican Human Rights Commission, which has been investigating the case, obtained witness testimony alleging that federal police officers had been at the scene and did nothing when local police abducted the students.
Several hours before the remains were found in San Pedro, Mexican officials said that more than 3,500 body parts had been found in ranch land since April of last year.