Mexican cops checking abductions find mass grave

MEXICO CITY, April 7 (AP): Mexican security forces searching for abducted bus passengers in a violent northern state bordering Texas have stumbled on a collection of pits holding a total of 59 bodies. The grisly find was made near the ranch where drug cartel gunmen less than a year ago massacred 72 migrants who were trying to reach the United States.
Investigators struggled to exhume the bodies in the mass grave to determine whether they belonged to kidnapped bus passengers, migrants who frequently ride buses in the area, or drug traffickers executed by rivals. Tamaulipas state investigators and federal authorities went to the site about 80 miles (130 kilometers) south of the border at Brownsville, Texas, to investigate reports that gunmen had begun stopping buses and pulling off some passengers in the area starting March 25.
Two other such cases were reported in subsequent days, in what may have been an attempt at forced recruitment by a drug gang, Tamaulipas state interior secretary Morelos Canseco said. The gunmen reportedly abducted almost exclusively men and allowed the remaining passengers to continue on their way. State and federal investigators and soldiers conducted the raid, but differed on what exactly happened.
The federal Interior Department said the first pit was discovered Saturday and soldiers detained five suspected kidnappers. Tamaulipas officials said the pits were found Wednesday, and a total of 11 suspected kidnappers were captured and five kidnap victims were freed. The reason for the discrepancy was not clear. But the security forces agreed that a series of eight burial pits had been found, one of which contained 43 bodies and the others 16 corpses. The bodies were being examined to determine their identities and cause of death.
Canseco said two of the dead were women. Many of the victims found in the pits appeared to have died between 10 and 15 days ago, dates that would roughly match the bus abductions, he said.