Mass grave with over 600 human bone fragments found near US border

Policemen stand guard as forensic investigators work on the exhumation of a mass grave at a plot of land that is believed to have been used to bury unidentified victims of drug violence, in Tijuana, Mexico, on Aug 16, 2017.
Policemen stand guard as forensic investigators work on the exhumation of a mass grave at a plot of land that is believed to have been used to bury unidentified victims of drug violence, in Tijuana, Mexico, on Aug 16, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS

MEXICO CITY (AFP) - More than 600 human bone fragments were found in a mass grave outside the Mexican city of Tijuana near the United States border, officials said on Wednesday (Aug 16).

Baja California state's Missing Persons Association said the mass grave was located, not far from the city, south of the US city of San Diego, after a tip from alleged drug traffickers now in custody.

The site is in the same area where, years ago, the authorities found a mass grave of Santiago Mezas. He would dissolve bodies in chemicals, at traffickers' request, before relocating remains.

"So far, we have found between 600 and 700 (human) bone parts. Forensic experts are saying it will take at least a month to complete work at the site," Mr Fernando Ocegueda, the group's director, said on Milenio Television.

Bones will be examined in Mexico City for DNA results.

Searchers used drones and Global Positioning System to find the site, the authorities said.

More than 186,000 people have been murdered and another 30,000 have gone missing in Mexico since 2006, when the government deployed the military to fight organised crime.

Experts say the capture of the top drug-cartel leaders has spawned numerous independent criminal groups that have moved beyond drug trafficking into robbery, kidnapping and extortion in areas they control.