An apparently long-running “extermination site” has been found outside Mexico’s northern city of Nuevo Laredo, officials said on Wednesday.
The location was discovered some weeks earlier and is being investigated within the context of dozens of reported disappearances along a segment of the highway connecting Nuevo Laredo and Monterrey since 2012, the Mexican National Search Commission said.
“The characteristics of the place allow the inference that it is an extermination site that has been used for years and until very recently, which will have to be confirmed by experts,” the commission said in a statement. “This is the first site of these dimensions found in Nuevo Laredo.”
Searchers found burned human remains on the ground, multiple possible clandestine graves and a clandestine crematorium, it said.
Drug cartels frequently use such sites to burn or dissolve the bodies of people they kill.
Located across the border from Laredo, Texas, Nuevo Laredo has been dominated for years by the Northeast Cartel, a fragment of the old Zetas cartel.
National Search Commission head Karla Quintana on Tuesday told the W Radio station that a “clandestine crematorium of considerable size” had been found just outside Nuevo Laredo, along with burned bone fragments.
It had been set up and operated years ago, but had also recently been used, Quintana said.
Families of dozens of people who went missing on the highway between Monterrey and Nuevo Laredo this year expressed anger at the report, complaining that they had not been informed of the situation.
Angelica Orozco, who leads the relatives’ group United Forces for Our Disappear in Nuevo Leon State, which borders Nuevo Laredo, yesterday said that “it is very worrisome for us that the commission has come out with such alarmist statements without informing us.”
Her group said in a statement on Tuesday that “these statements totally re-victimize, and cause anguish and torture for the relatives of the disappeared,” because many might assume that their loved ones may have been killed and burned there.
The commission’s statement on Wednesday night called for the inclusion of families of the missing in the efforts to investigate the site.
At least 71 people went missing earlier this year as they drove on the highway between the industrial hub of Monterrey and Nuevo Laredo.
Those who are missing include at least a half-dozen US residents.
Most of the missing are men who drove trucks or taxis on a road that local media have dubbed “the highway of death,” but also include women and children, and men driving private vehicles.
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