At least 44 bodies stuffed in about 100 black bags were identified by Mexican officials after they were discovered several weeks ago, officials said.
The remains were discovered on Sept. 3 in a well near the city of Guadalajara in Jalisco State after residents reported a foul odor, reported the BBC.
“It saddens me to speak in this way, but society has a right to know what is happening,” Jalisco security cabinet chief Macedonio Tamez Guajardo told Mexican news website Milenio.
Elaborating on the grisly discovery, Guajardo said the bodies were in various states of decomposition. The Jalisco Institute of Forensic Sciences said on Sept. 14 that 44 people have been identified, Fox News reported.
The BBC reported that the bodies were dismembered, making the identification process more difficult. Some of the remains are still not identified.
A local organization that searches for missing people appealed to the local government to send more officials to help identify the remains. They said that the local forensic department cannot handle the task, adding that it is overwhelmed, according to the broadcaster.
Officials said they are investigating the mass grave and the discovery of six bodies at a safe house in August, the Mexico News Daily reported.
In May, officials in Jalisco found 34 bodies on two separate properties.
Jalisco is home to one of the most violent drug cartels in the country, known as the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, according to the News Daily.
The publication also said that as of July 2019, some 20,135 people have been killed in Mexico, representing a 3 percent increase compared to the previous period last year.
Officials said that 2018 was the most violent year since Mexican officials began keeping records more than 20 years ago.
Guadalajara-based journalist Stephen Woodman told Business Insider last week said there has been a large influx in homicides in Guadalajara and Jalisco.
“Mexico’s statistics agency shows the murder rate reached 35 murders per 100,000 people last year, an 84 percent rise from 2017,” he told the news outlet. “However, in terms of homicides, Jalisco is no exception. Last year, it was 20 percent worse than the national average. Other states like Colima and Baja California are far more violent.”
Meanwhile, Woodman added, about “3,400 people have been reported missing in the state, so it is among the worst in the country for disappearances.”
He also noted that while Guadalajara, a wealthy city, once had a good reputation, it’s getting worse.
“The chances of being robbed have soared. That’s because cartels have banned street robberies in other areas of the city so criminals have started operating in busy nightlife areas,” he said.