Army troops found 10 bodies in a mass grave in Durango, the capital of the like-named northern Mexican state, raising to 280 the number of bodies discovered in clandestine graves in the area since April, state prosecutors told Efe.
Soldiers found the bodies in the community of Cristobal Colon and investigators are trying to identify the victims, a Durango Attorney General’s Office spokesman said.
A total of 14 clandestine graves have been found in the state since April.
Federal officials are investigating the killings, but they have not provided many details about the cases.
Soldiers and federal investigators plan to continue digging at the site, but they have ruled out the possibility of finding more bodies, the AG’s office said.
The army retains jurisdiction over the site and other federal agencies are providing support in the investigation, the AG’s office said.
Cristobal Colon residents noticed a foul odor last week, Mexican media outlets reported.
Durango, Chihuahua and Sinaloa states make up Mexico’s so-called “Golden Triangle” of the illegal drug trade.
The majority of the bodies discovered in Durango city earlier this year were in the Las Fuentes neighborhood.
The Sinaloa cartel, Mexico’s oldest and largest drug trafficking organization, has been trying to gain control of Durango, the press reported.
Durango, one of the states most affected by drug-related violence, is said to be the hiding place of Sinaloa cartel boss Joaquin “El Chapo” (Shorty) Guzman.
Mexico has been plagued in recent years by drug-related violence, as rival gangs vie for control of lucrative smuggling and distribution routes.
A total of 15,270 people died in drug-related violence in Mexico last year, and more than 45,000 people have died since President Felipe Calderon declared war on the country’s cartels shortly after taking office in December 2006.
Calderon has deployed tens of thousands of soldiers and Federal Police officers across the country to combat drug cartels and other criminal organizations.
The anti-drug operation, however, has failed to put a dent in the violence due, according to experts, to drug cartels’ ability to buy off the police and even high-ranking officials.