Mexican authorities have discovered 11 bodies in two clandestine graves in the western state of Michoacan, authorities said.
One of the graves was found in Tumbiscatio, near the hometown of Los Caballeros Templarios (Knights Templar) drug cartel leader Servando Gomez Martinez, and contained nine bodies, including those of two women, a spokesperson with the Michoacan state Attorney General’s Office told Efe on Friday.
The victims were apparently executed and buried two years ago, the spokesperson said, adding that the state AG’s office is probing whether Gomez, known as “La Tuta,” was behind the killings.
Police attached to the federal Attorney General’s Office found the second grave on a mango farm in the town of La Mira as part of an operation to detect clandestine burial spots in the region.
They found the remains of two people believed to have been killed approximately one year ago, a spokesperson for the federal AG’s office’s delegation in Michoacan.
The spokesperson noted that federal prosecutors have been searching for clandestine graves on different properties and ranches in Michoacan, particularly in the municipality of Lazaro Cardenas, where the Templarios are known to operate.
Officials have suspected for some time that the drug cartel uses Lazaro Cardenas, one of Mexico’s largest Pacific ports, to smuggle drugs and illegally mined minerals.
The federal government intervened in Michoacan in January to fill a security vacuum in the state, where community self-defense groups had formed to defend themselves against the Templarios cartel.
Since then, federal authorities have dealt the cartel a series of blows, capturing or killing several of its top leaders.