Authorities have unearthed 12 bodies in clandestine graves in Mexico’s violence-plagued southern state of Guerrero, officials said Wednesday.
The pits were found on a mountain near the village of Pocjahuxco, part of the municipality of Zitla, a region where drug cartels have been fighting over control of criminal operations.
Seven bodies were exhumed on Tuesday and another five on Wednesday, said Roberto Alvarez, the state’s public safety spokesman.
State prosecutors are investigating the crime scene, while soldiers and police guard the area, Alvarez said in a brief statement.
Drug cartels have been burying their victims in hidden graves across the country for years, and authorities regularly find human remains.
Guerrero is one of the country’s most violent states and a major opium poppy grower, with the Guerreros Unidos and Los Rojos drug gangs engaged in brutal turf wars.
Last weekend, at least 24 people were killed in the state. The bodies of nine men, including five that were dismembered, were found on a roadside.
Guerrero is also known for the disappearance of 43 students in the city of Iguala in September 2014, a case that drew international outrage and remains unsolved.
The Pacific resort of Acapulco, once a famous destination for Hollywood stars, is now considered the country’s murder capital as the Beltran Leyva gang and the Independent Cartel of Acapulco battle for supremacy.