Grim statistics released this week show the extent of Mexico’s internal wars to control the lucrative drug trade. Between 2006 and 2016, authorities unearthed 1,978 clandestine graves in 24 of the country’s 32 states, a new report says.
That is equivalent to the discovery of a clandestine grave every two days.
Jalisco is near the top of the list with 214 bodies discovered in 137 graves over this period. Leading the table by a considerable margin is the state of Veracruz.
During this period, makeshift graves have been found in one out of seven (372) municipal districts in the country. With 12, Tlajomulco is the Jalisco municipality with the most number of graves unearthed.
The investigation, carried out by several journalists sponsored by publishing house Quinto Elemento Lab, took more than a year to complete. One of the reporters, Alejandra Guillén, admitted the difficulty they had squeezing the information out of many state fiscalias (prosecutors’ offices) due to the “disorder” of the agencies, which often “did not take their work seriously.”
The data collected does not indicate exactly how many bodies the graves contained, since many had decomposed by the time they were dug up. The report, however, notes that 2,884 complete corpses were discovered, along with 324 skulls and many bone fragments.
Since December 2006, when Felipe Calderon took office as Mexico’s president and started his “war” on the cartels with the backing of the United States, 37,500 people have been reported as missing nationwide. It is likely only a few will ever be found alive or even identifed. As well as burying bodies in clandestine graves, cartels also dispose of bodies by dissolving them in acid.