JUAREZ, Mexico (Border Report) – Police have pulled eight bodies wrapped in blankets from a clandestine landfill in Juarez’s lower valley in the past two days.
Chihuahua Attorney General Cesar Jauregui confirmed the Wednesday afternoon find of the first six bodies and said it is linked to recent violent events in the area. A Chihuahua state police spokesman on Friday confirmed two more bodies were found at the site on Thursday afternoon.
“We do have insights, but we won’t disclose them. We know this has to do with events that happened in Ciudad Juarez recently,” Jauregui said in a Thursday morning news conference on Facebook Live. He added that 98% of homicides in this city still ranked amongst the world’s most dangerous are traced to organized criminal activity.
The landfill is located near the Juarez-Porvenir Highway, an area Sinaloa drug cartel cells are known to control but which of late is being disputed by rival La Linea. An early August rolling gun battle in the new Samalayuca-Guadalupe toll road left at least four men dead.
The two transnational criminal organizations are also killing each other off for control of migrant smuggling in the state of Chihuahua, Jauregui said.
He confirmed that nine of 10 bodies recently found buried in a pit near the town of Coyame (60 miles west-southwest of Presidio, Texas) are part of a group of migrants missing since September 2021.
“They were victims of a fight for control of trafficking of migrants in the area between La Linea and Sinaloa. In those disputes, the ones who lose their lives in an atrocious way are (the migrants),” Jauregui said.
Chihuahua chief state forensic expert Javier Sanchez said initial reports pointed to 14 migrants stopped on their way to the United States and taken captive by criminals. One of the abductees, an underaged boy, was released, leaving 13 missing men, he said.
Of the 10 bodies found near Coyame, nine have been positively identified through DNA testing and the ID of another is pending contact with relatives, Sanchez said. The forensic work has required the intervention of anthropologists due to bones getting mixed and very small fragments being pulled from the earth, he said.
The whereabouts of the other three missing Mexican migrants are unknown as of now, he said.
Jauregui said the number of kidnappings in Chihuahua, which borders Texas and New Mexico, has grown “exponentially” because of continuous migration from South America, Central America and southern Mexico to the United States.
“We don’t have the same type of kidnappings we used to: Businesspeople being abducted (for money). But we are having a disproportionate arrival of migrants, and what happens is abuse by organized criminals that see the possibility to bleed them for money, more money in addition to what they already paid” to be brought to the U.S. border, Jauregui said.
He added state police officers daily rescue migrants, receive information about kidnapped migrants or arrest migrant kidnappers. The state police this year has liberated 113 migrants held against their will and arrested 28 alleged kidnappers, according to the AG’s Office.
Jauregui said state officers recently killed a migrant kidnapper and injured another in a shoot out while investigating reports of migrant stash houses.
Irregular migration along the Southwestern border of the United States fell substantially in June but rose in July – according to CBP data – and again by tens of thousands in August, according to preliminary information obtained by the Washington Post.