Note: on the Juan Francisco Sicilia case, interesting reaction when
a member of the privileged class get hit. They ready to surrender to
59 bodies found in pits in Mexican border state
ADRIANA GOMEZ LICON,Associated Press
Posted: 04/07/2011 12:24:47 AM MDT
MEXICO CITY (AP) - Fifty-nine bodies were found buried Wednesday in a
series of pits in the northern Mexico state of Tamaulipas, near the
site where suspected drug gang members massacred 72 migrants last
summer, officials said.
Security forces stumbled on the site as they were investigating
reports that passengers had been pulled off several buses by gunmen
in the area in what may have been an attempt at forced recruitment by
a drug gang.
State and federal authorities conducted a raid that netted several
suspected kidnappers and freed five kidnap victims.
Then they made a grisly discovery - a total of eight pits, containing
a total of 59 corpses. One of the pits held 43 dead.
The Tamaulipas state government said the find
was made Wednesday, and 11 suspects were detained, but the federal
Interior department said the first pit was found Saturday and five
suspects were detained by soldiers.
Tamaulipas state interior secretary Morelos Canseco said two of the
dead were women. Many of the victims found in the pits appeared to
have died between 10 and 15 days ago, dates that would roughly match
the bus abductions, he said.
Canseco said state officials began getting reports that gunmen had
been stopping buses, starting around March 25. At least two more
cases were reported in the following days. The buses were allowed to
continue on with their remaining passengers in each case.
The bodies were being examined to determine their identifies and the
of death, the Tamaulipas state government said in statement in which
it "energetically condemned" the crimes.
The statement did not identify what drug gang, if any, that the
arrested suspects belonged to, or why they might have hijacked the bus.
President Felipe Calderon's office issued a statement saying the find
"underlines the cowardliness and total lack of scruples of the
criminal organizations that cause violence in our country."
While there was no immediate confirmation that a drug cartel was
involved, officials refer to the cartels as "criminal organizations."
The statement said Calderon had ordered federal officials to help in
the investigation, and particularly in the work of identifying the
The pits were found in the farm hamlet of La Joya in the township of
San Fernando, in the same area where the bodies of 72 migrants, most
from Central America, were found shot to death Aug. 24 at a ranch.
The area is about 80 miles (130 kilometers) from the border at
Authorities blamed that massacre on the Zetas drug gang, which is
fighting its one-time allies in the Gulf cartel for control of the
The victims in the August massacre were illegal immigrants from El
Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Ecuador and Brazil. An Ecuadorean and
Honduran survived the attack, which Mexican authorities say occurred
after the migrants refused to work for the cartel.
Mexican drug cartels have taken to recruiting migrants, common
criminals and youths, Mexican authorities say.
It was unclear if the victims found Wednesday were migrants. Migrants
frequently travel by bus in Mexico.
But drug gunmen also operate kidnapping rings, and erect roadblocks
on highways in Tamaulipas and other northern states, where they
hijack vehicles and rob and sometimes kill passengers.
San Fernando is on a major highway that leads to the U.S. border.
Drug gangs across Mexico also sometimes use mass graves to dispose of
the bodies of executed rivals.
The wave of drug-related killings - which has claimed more than
34,000 lives in the four years since the government launched an
offensive against drug cartels - drew thousands of protesters into
the streets of Mexico's capital and several other cities Wednesday in
marches against violence.
Many of the protesters said the government offensive has stirred up
"We need to end this war, because it is a senseless war that the
government started," said protester Alma Lilia Roura, 60, an art
Several thousand people joined the demonstration in downtown Mexico
City, chanting "No More Blood!" and "Not One More!" A similar number
marched through the southern city of Cuernavaca.
Parents marched with toddlers, and protesters held up signs
highlighting the disproportionate toll among the nation's youth.
"Today a student, tomorrow a corpse," read one sign carried by
The marches were spurred in part by the March 28 killing of Juan
Francisco Sicilia, the son of Mexican poet Javier Sicilia, and six
other people in Cuernavaca.
"We are putting pressure on the government, because this can't go
on," said the elder Sicilia. "It seems that we are like animals that
can be murdered with impunity."
Associated Press writer Mark Stevenson contributed to this report.