Mexican authorities have discovered 45 bags containing an unknown number of human remains.
The bags were found at an overlook of a forested area on the outskirts of Guadalajara in northwestern Mexico, the state prosecutor’s office of Jalisco said Wednesday in a statement.
The Associated Press said that firefighters and civil defense workers recovered the bags, which contained an unknown amount of bodies of both men and women.
They used a helicopter to recover the bags from the gorge where they were located. Work on recovering the bodies is expected to continue in the coming days, authorities said.
The development came as Mexican authorities were attempting to locate seven young people who were reported missing last week, although it is not clear whether the seven were among those whose remains were in the bags.
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According to the report, over 110,000 people are missing in Mexico, 15,000 of whom are missing from Jalisco, the highest number of any state.
The country also has thousands of unidentified remains in its morgues and cemeteries.
The latest discovery is not the first time Mexican authorities have found bags full of human remains.
In November last year authorities located 53 bags of remains in Irapuato, Guanajuato State.
In that case, authorities were alerted to the possibility of a site containing human remains after a dog was reported walking around with a human hand in its mouth.
In April, the US Justice Department announced charges against more than two dozen members of Mexico’s powerful Sinaloa cartel, including sons of notorious drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, in a fentanyl-trafficking investigation.
The three Guzman sons charged — Ovidio Guzman Lopez, Jesus Alfredo Guzman Salazar and Ivan Archivaldo Guzman Salazar — are known as the Chapitos, or little Chapos, and have earned a reputation as the more violent and aggressive faction of the cartel.
Of the three, only Guzman Lopez is in custody, in Mexico.
Attorney General Merrick Garland, standing alongside Drug Enforcement Administration chief Anne Milgram and other top federal prosecutors, unveiled the indictments in three districts aimed at hitting the cartel’s global network.
The defendants span a broad swathe of a complex manufacturing and supply network.