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on the border line between the US and Mexico

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Five Years After Discovery, They Accept The Existence Of An Extermination Center In Matamoros

"Sol Prendido" for Borderland Beat

At the beginning of the searches the deployment to find the graves and remains was large, including federal police.

Five years after the discovery of the site, the government of Mexico accepted the existence of a center for the extermination of people in the area known as La Bartolina, Tamaulipas, from where it has collected half a ton of burnt bones.

The head of the National Search Commission (CNB), Karla Quintana Osuna, reported that the federal and state prosecutors' offices have worked for five years in the processing of the land, located in Matamoros, about 12 kilometers from Brownsville, Texas, United States.

"From 2017 to May 28, at least 500 kilograms of burnt bone remains have been recovered. At first the Attorney General's Office of Tamaulipas intervened, and for a little more than two years the individual who is processing this place of extermination is the Attorney General's Office of the Republic, together with the National Search Commission, "said the federal official.

The center for the incineration and destruction of corpses was discovered by elements of the Secretariat of National Defense (Sedena) and the State Attorney General's Office in April 2016, during the six-year term of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, and five months before the administration of the Tamaulipan governor Egidio Torre Cantú ended.

Journalistic reports from El Mañana de Reynosa published at the time indicate that military personnel found the site on Wednesday, April 6, 2016, and two days later detected the exact terrain at the foot of a lagoon, near Baghdad beach.

According to federal information, the site was allegedly operated by the Gulf Cartel since 2009. 

The members of organized crime brought kidnapped people to this field; there they tortured, murdered, incinerated and buried the bodies. The La Bartolina community is an area of land with some sorghum fields, but there are no more plots due to the salinity of the land near the Gulf of Mexico.

In April 2016, border media in Mexico and the United States, such as El Mañana de Reynosa, La Tarde, Breibart, Noticias 48 Univision and journalist Enrique Lerma published notes on the finding; the latter revealed the case on his Facebook account on April 7. In the following 3 days, the newspapers confirmed the security operation in the area.

"Almost 48 hours after the discovery of bone remains (narco-pits) was recorded in Ejido la Bartolina, in Matamoros, and given the null official information from the authorities of Tamaulipas, unofficial information is leaked with extensive knowledge of criminal activity in the area, identified by criminal groups as "The Dirt Road Towards Hell," located next to the place that is currently protected by the federal authorities. Geographically, this sector is parallel to the coastal city of Puerto Isabel, in Cameron County, Texas," reported Lerma, a journalist with Noticias 48 Univision, on April 8, 2016.

A day later, El Mañana de Reynosa presented a note with details of the findings:

"Military troops deployed in an extermination camp with graves in a community in the city of Matamoros, reported the discovery of drums containing ashes and fragments of bone remains, as well as plastic bottles with fuel residues.

"This allowed them to discover three drums of 200 liters each containing ashes and fragments or bone remains, it’s unknown if they are human or animal.''

In response to the journalistic publications, the Tamaulipas Coordination Group - made up of the Federation and the state government - issued a statement on April 11, 2016, in which it admitted that Expert Services of the state Attorney General's Office and soldiers intervened on land in the La Bartolina community.

The following is the full communiqué that was issued at that time:

The Tamaulipas Coordination Group reports that on Sunday, April 10, the exploration work on land in the La Bartolina community of the municipality of Matamoros was concluded, where the version of the discovery of clandestine graves was initially carried out.

He specifies that on the grounds of the community that were subject to inspections by expert services personnel and Army elements, no graves of any nature were found, only a 200-liter drum containing ashes and bone fragments, it’s unknown if they are human or animal.

The exploration of the terrain began on Wednesday, April 6, when elements of the Ministry of National Defense were carrying out land surveys and when they reached a dirt road that leads to the aforementioned community, they detected irregularities in the land, proceeding to dig to establish what it was about.

From that date until Sunday, April 10, experts and soldiers proceeded to carry out 20 excavations at the starting point and later extended to an area known as the "Sea Zone."

Of the total of the places explored, only seven found bone fragments, some metal objects, papers, garments, cans and cartridges. The inspection was done in the water and on the shores of the aforementioned "Sea Zone", using a georadar.

The analysis of the bone fragments found is not yet complete, so it has not been possible to determine whether they are human or animal. In the 20 points explored, neither pits, bones, nor charred bodies were found.

Search efforts have existed since 2017

The version given by the Coordination Group in 2016 doesn’t coincide with what, a year later, search engines and elements of the Prosecutor's Office Specialized in the Investigation of the Crimes of Enforced Disappearance of Persons found in the large area.

The search work in the extermination zone is led by the collective Madres Unidas por Nuestros Hijos, which brings together relatives of disappeared people in San Fernando, Matamoros and Reynosa.

María, one of the leaders of the collective and whom we will call without surnames to protect her identity, has been in La Bartolina since the first search, in 2017, to the last one in the middle of last month.

"We began to open the ground up a little bit, then 24 graves were documented, of those we just opened 1 or 2 with the Tamaulipas Prosecutor's Office, because we went above the ground and there was another well that we dug and took out; there we poisoned three people. Then that other well and three more were opened and the state intervention ended, but since I had no results and a correct exhumation was when the FGR intervened in mid-2018, "explained the search engine.

Regarding the report of the findings given by the Ministry of the Interior (Segob), María specifies that the total amount of remains exceeds half a ton, because in two searches carried out last year the elements of the FGR collected approximately 725 kilograms of bones.

In addition, remember that objects such as voter credentials or driver's licenses, deeds, invoices, charred socks, watches, bracelets, rings, gold dentures, rosaries and clothes were collected at the place.

María urges the National Search Commission and the Attorney General's Office of the Republic to plan more searches, because they have only excavated in less than a quarter of the 600 square meters of land that, she says, was used by organized crime groups since 2008.

"In La Bartolina, where you step, there is a tooth, a cervical, a rib, a jaw; we have found whole and medium bodies, cervical with full pelvis. The risk is that the bodies disappear again, because when the sea water rises it reaches the ground and drags everything, that's why we want a greater and urgent intervention to be scheduled," said the member of the collective Madres Unidas por Nuestros Hijos.

Elefante Blanco interviewed a former state official, who asked that we protect his identity, about the tour he made through the La Bartolina area in 2017. "We walked on the plots, because it’s an open area, and we found in a slope next to a lagoon that enters the sea, a kind of beach, with soft and fine sand; there were remains - like teeth - with the naked eye; you saw it and you could not believe it," he recalled.

On April 7, 2021, Commissioner Karla Quintana briefly mentioned the discovery and collection of human remains, without giving further details of the processing of the bones. However, sources from the FGR and FGJ confirmed that the forensic and genetic examinations done on the remains have yielded profiles of the victims.

It’s not the first time that the government of Mexico accepts the existence of extermination camps in Tamaulipas. In February 2019, the head of the Undersecretary of the Interior, Alejandro Encinas, toured the El Papalote ranch, located in Gómez Farías, southwest of Tamaulipas, a site allegedly operated by Los Zetas.

Matamoros, the municipality with the most missing

Collectives of relatives of disappeared persons in Tamaulipas have found 50 clandestine body incineration centers, also called 'kitchens', in the south, center and north of the state.

The inquiries carried out by the members of the collectives have led them to determine that in those areas there were acts of torture, kidnapping, mass murders, training of criminals, clandestine graves and the scattering of ashes in bodies of water. Therefore, they decided to call them extermination centers.

In Tamaulipas, legal and illegal armed groups have disappeared 11,443 people; 2,241 disappeared in Matamoros, according to the national registry of the Ministry of the Interior (Segob).

The years with the most cases were 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2016; in these 4 years 1,079 missing persons accumulated. The age range of the victims ranges from 15 to 34 years; 78.58% are men and 21.37% are women.

Regarding the nationality of the disappeared persons, 87.55% are Mexicans. However, the registry exhibits 52 cases of U.S. citizens, five Guatemalans, four Hondurans, four Salvadorans, three Cubans and one Nicaraguan. In 209 complaints, the origin of the victim was not specified.

Where the disappeared go is a journalistic research project on the logics of the disappearance of citizens in Mexico and the struggles undertaken by their families in search of a perspective of human rights and memory



  1. Now we know where all the missing are at, bet you that's how they made the 43 students disappear, torture and burn them. Golf Cartel will burn them, but Mayor and governor have to kiss butt to the Cartel.

    1. No we dont...thats a different part of the country,there are numerous mass graves in mexico !

  2. Thanks for writing this, Sol. Homicide rates in Matamoros are low compared to other cities like Reynosa, but this just shows that they are trying to keep the numbers down by getting rid of people this way.

    The section near La Bartolina has long been a favorite execution spot by the cartel. Los Zetas started killing people there since the late 1990s. The leader of eastern Matamoros (which included the beach area and La Bartolina) back in the day was Rogelio González Pizaña AKA El Kelín and/or Z-2.

    La Bartolina is also not far away from the Space X launch facility near Boca Chica Beach. A stone's throw away from a completely different world...

    1. Homicide rate means nothing...this is all about disappearances,no body - no crime !:: here in Jalisco , they say 4 a day .

    2. 9:15 - Homicide rates do mean something. But it is not the whole picture. I get what you're saying, though.

    3. @915 get it to your head, mathematics...
      Missing people after many months and years ago equal killed and made disappeared. Therefore the bend results homicide.

    4. Yea that was back in the day but the guy that was in charge of the beach while this was going on was el filly he was notoriously feared but killed in shootout like a year ago against other ppl from matamoros

    5. Is Chivis secretly moderating?

    6. 9:38 get it through the cabesa, she is on a well deserved vacation in Norway, no TV no wifi.

  3. Nice article. A evil is one who tortures other without cause, these scums are beyond the evil nature. Don't Mexicans wish some nation should invade them and topple the corrupted government. Nazis are way less than mexican cartels. If cartels had what Hitler had, they would destroyed much more than Nazis


    1. There is a ruthless, babaric man that equal to wanting all the drug routes in Mexico, he will have anyone killed, by his henchmen, nevertheless he hides in caves like Osama bin laden had his for awhile. We all know this man, Mencho the Hitler of Mexico.

  4. Damn!!! Half a ton of burned up bone!!! Take into account what the burning took of the weight (cartilage,water mass,etc.) and it's extremely hard for me to wrap my head around this. I'm speachless

  5. Como que the most missing!? Parale guey, missing all of you because we way up here. Voltea la cabeza pariba compa. Ah los veran phorever.

  6. This is not happening in Afghanistan or Iraq! This is south of our own border and none of our mainstreamedia even mentions it.

    Pathetic how the US government and big capital dominates our 'freedom' information.


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