mexico

At least 16 bodies and more than two-dozen bags full of human remains have been found outside the Mexican city of Guadalajara, state prosecutors said.

The gruesome discoveries — announced Thursday — were made over the last ten days, in four different regions in the country’s west.

The remains of 14 people were found on the border with the central state of Guanajuato — one of the country’s most violent because of petrol-smuggling criminal groups.

The bodies of three men were found outside a tin mine along with a woman “whose hands and feet were tied,” the prosecutor said, while the bones of nine men and a woman were discovered on a small ranch.

Human remains packed into 26 bags were also found in Guadalajara — one of Mexico’s largest cities, authorities said, though it is not clear how many people that represents.

“The Institute of Forensic Sciences will determine the number of bodies,” said Jalisco state prosecutor Gerardo Solis.

In 2006 then-president Felipe Calderon launched a controversial military offensive against organized crime gangs that experts and human rights groups say is one of the main causes of an escalation of violence in Mexico.

Official figures show almost 287,000 murders have been committed in Mexico since then, though it is unclear how many are directly linked to drug cartel violence

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