Chilpancingo, Guerrero - The remains of a prison warden were among those found in a mass grave containing at least 40 bodies in the southern Mexican state of Guerrero, a spokesman for the state attorney general’s office said.
The remains of Daniel Bravo Mota, who was the warden of the Iguala prison, were identified using DNA tests and forensic anthropology techniques, AG’s office spokesman Albertico Guinto said.
The 53-year-old Bravo Mota was kidnapped last month along with prison psychologist Ignacio Suastegui Perez by a group of heavily armed men.
The mass grave was found near the city of Taxco just after 10:00 a.m. Saturday, a day after army troops arrested 15 people in the city of Iguala.
One of the suspects arrested in the army operation, Victor Manuel Sanchez Conde, confessed that he participated in Bravo Mota’s kidnapping, Guerrero deputy prisons chief Angel Garcia said.
The suspect told authorities that the bodies of Bravo Mota and Suastegui Perez were thrown into the pit, but investigators have so far managed to only identify the warden.
The mass grave, an abandoned mine shaft, has yielded six bodies and four skulls, but investigators say photographs taken at the site indicate it could contain 40 bodies.
Mexico’s drug cartels, which have been battling for turf for years, frequently use mass graves to get rid of the bodies of slain enemies.
Guerrero has been plagued by drug-related violence in recent years.
A battle for control of the Beltran Leyva cartel has left dozens of people dead in the past few months in the southern state.
The Beltran Leyva cartel is involved in smuggling cocaine, marijuana and heroin, as well as in people trafficking, money laundering, extortion, kidnapping, contract hits and arms trafficking.
Arturo Beltran Leyva, who was killed in a shootout on Dec. 16 with Mexican marines, and another brother, Mario Alberto, shared the leadership of the Beltran Leyva cartel, which arose as a splinter group of the Sinaloa cartel.
The Sinaloa organization, Mexico’s oldest and largest cartel, has carried out a number of attacks in Guerrero.