The authorities in Mexico have found a mass grave east of Mexico City and are testing to determine if it holds some of the 12 people who were abducted from a bar in an area of the capital in May.
The mass grave was discovered on Wednesday at the Rancho La Mesa ecological park in the municipality of Tlalmanalco, a mountain area of pine trees, corn fields and rural homes 30km southeast of the capital.
At least seven corpses had been recovered from the grave in Tlalmanalco, Mexico City prosecutor Rodolfo Rios told reporters at a news conference on Thursday.
He said the victims could not be identified from clothing, and the cause of death had not been determined.
“We will look at DNA tests that have been taken … to confirm or discard scientifically if the bodies found are the people who disappeared from the bar,” Rios said.
He added that it would take at least two days to get results from DNA tests to identify the victims.
The federal Attorney General’s Office said agents had received information about possible illegal weapons on the property, and obtained a search warrant.
|All of the missing are from Tepito, with three of them related to jailed crime bosses from the area[AP]|
“We began to dig and found the bodies,” a federal police officer said.
Police put up a checkpoint on a dirt road surrounded by corn fields more than one kilometre from the mass grave to block access.
Some relatives of victims were there with an attorney, but the families refused to speak to reporters.
The kidnapped, aged 16 to 34, were taken from a downtown bar in broad daylight on a Sunday morning three months ago in a case that raised concerns about security in Mexico City, challenging the perception that it is relatively immune from the country’s drug cartel violence.
Al Jazeera’s Adam Raney, reporting from Mexico City, said “it is a high profile case in a capital that has long been seen as an oasis of safety during these several years of intense, gruesome, and grisly violence across the country.”
Most of those abducted come from Tepito and two of them, including 16-year-old Jerzy Ortiz, are sons of jailed criminals. But their families insist that the youngsters are not involved in criminal activities.
The group was whisked away by 17 men who walked into the Heaven bar on May 26 and put them in several cars, just blocks away from the federal police headquarters and the US embassy, officials said.
Two bar owners have been arrested while the charred remains of a third associate was found in the central state of Morelos last month.