Mexican Federal Authorities Search For Mass Graves Near Texas Border

APTOPIX Mexico Violence
AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo

REYNOSA, Tamaulipas — A special detail of Mexican federal authorities have arrived to this Mexican border city in an effort to locate the final resting place of hundreds of individuals who have been reported missing and are believed to have ended up in shallow mass graves.

The team, which is made up of specialists with Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office (PGR), Mexican marines, soldiers, and a search and rescue dog named Maki, was deployed to Reynosa following a recommendation made by Mexico’s human rights office, information provided to Breitbart Texas by the PGR revealed.

The team is not looking for specific individuals but are hoping to locate the more than 800 individuals who have been reported missing from Reynosa since 2010, officials said. On the very first day that the team began their searches they located human remains and shell casings. It remains to be seen how many bodies the team will find.

While Mexican authorities have found mass graves in other parts of the country, the graves in Reynosa are the first of their kind that authorities confirm near the Texas border.  In 2011, Mexican authorities found a series of mass graves near the rural city of San Fernando which is about 80 miles south of the Texas border. In those graves authorities found 193 bodies that have not yet been identified. The atrocious murders were carried out by members of the Los Zetas Cartel who had been hijacking buses and kidnapping passengers.

Historically, Reynosa has been a stronghold of the Gulf Cartel, a crime syndicate that not only smuggles drugs but has also been involved in human trafficking, extortion, kidnapping, and murder for hire. In 2010, the Gulf Cartel went to war with their former enforcers Los Zetas and since then both cartels have suffered internal splits that have led to additional internal fighting which has manifested itself in massive shootouts with armored vehicles, grenade launchers, and machine guns. As Breitbart Texas previously reported, the infighting within the Gulf Cartel has taken a heavy toll in the city of Reynosa despite the efforts of government officials to increase security.

A Tamaulipas law enforcement official who spoke on condition of anonymity said the fighting has led to multiple executions that start off as kidnappings. In a practice called “levanton” or pickup, a group of heavily armed cartel hitmen are sent to kidnap an individual who is then tortured to extract information and then executed. When the Gulf Cartel has been short on funds, they have also resorted to kidnapping for ransom. However, in some cases the victims are never heard from again, even if the ransom is paid, the official said.

Follow Ildefonso Ortiz on Twitter and on Facebook.