06/21/14 (written by dpera) — On Monday, June 16, a mass grave containing at least 31 bodies—24 men and seven women—was found in the outskirts of Tres Valles, a town in Mexico’s eastern state of Veracruz. The Veracruz Attorney General’s Office (Procurdaría General de Justicia del Estado, PGJE) has launched an investigation to identify the victims and their cause of death. The PGJE noted days after the grave’s discovery that, “according to the information gathered up to this point, it can be concluded that some of these people were native to this region.” The grave sits on a ranch called El Diamante, located near the border between Veracruz and Oaxaca.
Reports vary on how the grave was discovered, with some sources indicating an anonymous tip was called in, and others saying Mexican Marines on duty found it after they saw vultures flying overhead. Marines are now guarding the area, as local, state, and federal experts are in the process of excavating and investigating the grave.
The discovery of mass graves has become a more common occurrence in recent years in Mexico. Authorities have suggested that this grave, similar to previous ones discovered, is likely connected to the violence of competing drug cartels in the area, particularly the Zetas and Gulf Cartel. Investigators are also looking into if the victims are migrants, reminiscent of the 2011 discovery of 193 migrants in a mass grave in Tamaulipas. Predominantly from Central America, migrants are vulnerable to extortion, kidnapping, and crime at the hands of organized crime groups as they pass through Mexico.