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At least 23 bodies found in a hidden grave near a police base in Mexico

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The bodies of at least 23 people have been found in a hidden grave close to a police base on the outskirts of the western Mexican city of Guadalajara, local authorities said Friday.

“The people deployed to the site have found 23 bodies, as well as four bags with various items of evidence, and three of the bodies have been identified,” said the Jalisco state prosecutor’s office in a statement.

The statement said the mass grave had been found on Monday.

The families of the three people so far identified have been informed, the office added.

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The burial pit was found between two residential properties and only three blocks from the police station of El Salto, on the outskirts of Guadalajara, the capital of Jalisco.

“It is between two houses where people are living. You have to ask, why didn’t they report something?” said Guadalupe Aguilar, a coordinator for the FUNDEJ organization that looks for missing people in the country and which monitors digs carried out by the authorities.

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The investigators found evidence that crimes were committed on the property “related to the disappearance of people,” the official statement said.

On July 2, investigators wound up work on another grave in the nearby municipality of Tlaquepaque, where they found 86 bags containing human remains.

And 10 days ago, the authorities resumed work on another burial site in the municipality of Tlajomulco, also on the edge of the city, where last January they found 500 bags containing human remains from an estimated 48 people. Those excavations had been suspended in March due to the coronavirus.

The large number of bodies being found in the state follows bloody turf wars between the powerful narco-trafficking group known as the Jalisco New Generation cartel and rival groups, as well as internal disputes within the gang itself.

The Mexican government said on Monday that there are 73,201 people missing in the country, most of whom have vanished since the country launched a major offensive against the cartels in 2006.

Since then 6,625 bodies have been found in hidden burial pits.