The number of bodies recovered from the abandoned Mina La Concha mine rose to 38 as of Saturday according to personnel belonging to the state of Guerrero Department of Forensic Medical Service (Semefo).
The mine is located at San Franciso Cuadra in the municipality of Taxco, Guerrero, a popular tourist destination famous for it’s silver markets.
Semefo personnel indicated that the tally of victims could reach up to 100, not just 40 as previously indicated. Most of the bodies recovered have been bound and blindfolded with duct tape, with visible evidence of torture and bullet wounds.
Morgues in Taxco and the state capital of Chilpancingo have been saturated and recovered bodies are now being transported to the city of Acapulco.
Conditions dangerous due to accumulation of gases in mine shaft
The Secretariat for Civil Protection, coordinating work at the site, said that the 22experts recovering the bodies are working in extreme danger due to the heavy concentration of gases within the shaft. Most of the bodies located there are in an advanced state of decomposition.
Albertico Guinto Sierra, spokesman at the site, stated "The pit has a slope of more than 150 meters and within this there are many gases and therefore our staff have been given all sorts of protective measures to prevent any sort of an accident"
He said that during the first two days of recovery work it took up to three or four hours to remove the remains of each victim, but the pace of recovery has advanced to one hour for each body during daylight hours.
“I do not think the bodies have been recognized because many of them are shattered," he said. The first 10 bodies recovered had been in the mine for 10 to 20 days and the next 28 bodies had been there for 30 to 40 days.
Clothing, dental records and tattoos are being used to identify the victims.
Among the bodies identified and released to family members are those of Daniel Bravo Mota, director of the prison in Iguala, Guerrero, Jose Luis Gomez Ortiz and Gilberto Hernandez Rosales, all residents of Guerrero.
Guerrero is one of the Mexican states most affected by drug war violence. The violence has increased since March as the resurgent Beltran Leyva cartel now under the command of “La Barbie”,Edgar Valdez Villarreal, is fighting for dominance of organized crime in the state.
According to The Attorney General of the Republic (PGR) the band of 15 alleged hit men arrested on Saturday May 20th in Iguala, Guerrero by the Mexican Army are linked to the Mina de la Concha mass grave. This group is associated with the “los Pelones” network of sicarios controlled by “la Barbie”.