The Mexican Marines uncovered 72 bodies dumped in a Mexican Ranch near the US border. It is so far the biggest single discovery of its kind in the continuing war of Mexico against drugs. The bodies were found at the Tamaulipas state, about 90 miles from the Texas border.
Authorities recognized 58 bodies of men and 14 bodies of women at the site. After a series or firefights between the marines and gang members, casualties were declared in both camps with three from the drug group and one from the marines. There were several gang members arrested while some still managed to escape.
The discovery of the bodies was first made known by a man who approached officers guarding a nearby checkpoint. He was able to escape and was wounded but still managed to give authorities information leading to the area which the troops were able to locate thru air surveillance. While they were flying near the area, shots were fired on them from the ground by the drug cartel members. In the aftermath of the fight, marines seized bullets, assault rifles, combat uniforms, and vehicles with forged license plates.
Alejandro Poire, a senior national security officer, told media that most of the victims were immigrants from countries like Ecuador, Honduras, Brazil, and El Salvador who were kidnapped as they made their way to the Texan border. The wounded man who gave authorities the information was, in fact, an Ecuadorean now confined at a hospital in Mexico.
Mexican cartels have moved into human smuggling in the last few years. They kidnap immigrants from the border and extort money and services from them. Some are forced to carry narcotics with them across the border while some are made into hitmen which serves their group.