Volunteer groups of moms searching for disappeared loved ones over the weekend located 17 bodies on between Friday and Sunday
Collectives Guerreras Buscadoras de Cajeme and Rastreadoras de Ciudad Obregón helped authorities in the northern state of Sonora, Mexico
Remains were buried in shallow graves at four clandestine grave sites in the city of Ciudad Obregón
Sonora state attorney general’s office said that the victims could have been killed between six months and a year ago
The 17 are part of the more than 98,000 people who have been reported missing in Mexico, according to data released by the govt
Drug cartels use abandoned or rented dwellings as execution chambers for kidnapping victims or suspected rival, then bury the bodies under the floors or in the yards
Discovery comes a week after 11 bodies were located in burial pits in the Sonora town of San Luis Río Colorado, on the border with Yuma, Arizona
In Mexico members of activist groups comprised of mothers searching for their missing loved ones led authorities to 17 bodies or remains buried in the backyards and patios of houses in a low-income development in the town of Ciudad Obregón, in the northern Mexican state of Sonora over the weekend.
The Sonora State Office of the Attorney General revealed Monday that the bodies were found stacked in four secret graves at abandoned homes in the Sonora municipality of Ciudad Obregón.
It said the victims had apparently been killed between six months and a year ago.
Prosecutors said the discoveries were made over the weekend after the Guerreras Buscadoras de Cajeme (Warrior Searchers of Cajeme) and Rastreadoras de Ciudad Obregón (Ciudad Obregón Tracers) began canvassing the area last Friday.
Members of a collective group searching for their missing loved ones comb through a secret burial pit at one of the residences in northern Mexico town of Ciudad Obregón, where 17 bodies were located from Friday to Sunday.
Members of the Guerreras Buscadoras de Cajeme located the remains of two people at a home at 908 Espada Street on Friday and found three more bodies at the same property Saturday, Mexican newspaper Expreso reported.
Information that led the collectives to these locations was not released, but they then searched a second abandoned residence at 904 Espada Street, where they found two more bodies. Also on Saturday, the Rastreadoras de Ciudad Obregón collective were able to find two other bodies at a home in the same neighborhood.
They went back Sunday and located eight more bodies.
The state attorney general’s office said the bodies would undergo genetic and forensics tests to identify them.
Video footage showed searchers digging by hand and with a backhoe in the yards, and in some cases under the foundations of the homes.
While it is more common for bodies to be buried in pits in vacant lots or outside of towns, some drug cartels in Mexico use abandoned or rented dwellings as execution chambers for kidnapping victims or suspected rivals, and simply bury the bodies under the floors or in the yards before leaving.
Sonora has been locked in a bloody three-way turf battle with rival drug gangs, and the discovery of clandestine burial pits has become increasingly common. The turf battles involve rival factions of the Sinaloa Cartel and gangs allied with fugitive drug lord Rafael Caro Quintero.
The government of Sonora said the bodies included nine men and two women were found in a series of pits, many holding several bodies.
Volunteer search teams made up of relatives of people who have vanished led authorities to the pits in a stretch of desert near a garbage dump.
Relatives of those who have disappeared conduct their own searches in many parts of Mexico, because police are unable or unwilling to do so.
Mexico has more than 98,356 missing people, according to government data. Most likely have been killed by drug cartels, their bodies dumped into shallow graves, burned or dissolved.
The government has struggled to identify even the bodies that have been found. Some 52,000 await identification.