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100 Feared Missing in Mexican Drug Graves

The FBI and Mexican police exhumed one body yesterday as a search began for up to 100 victims of drug violence – most allegedly buried near the Mexico-Texas border.

The search started on Monday after a Mexican who was arrested during a large drug seizure in El Paso, Texas, told US police that many people has been tortured, killed and buried on a ranch near the border city of Ciudad Juarez.

The search began on Monday after a Mexican arrested during a big drug seizure in El Paso, Texas, in April told U.S. authorities people had been tortured, murdered and buried at a ranch outside the city.

Enrique Cocina Martinez, allegedly a member of the Juarez drug cartel, gave police the information in the hope of getting a lighter prison sentence.

The Mexican Attorney General Jorge Madrazo said the searches which are currently underway in four different locations could provide answers to the disappearances of many people from the state of Chihuahua in the past four years. It is suspected up to 22 Americans could be buried in the sites.

Madrazo said the theory investigators were working from was that they were dealing with executions by the Juarez Cartel. Juarez Cartel is based in Ciudad Juarez and is thought to be responsible for shipping many tons of Columbian cocaine into the United States. The cartel has a reputation of being one of Mexico’s most violent.

Jaime Hervella, president of the International Association of Relatives and Friends of Disappeared Persons said his group had been searching for 196 missing people since 1990. He blames the disappearances on drug cartel violence and corrupt police taking orders from drug bosses.

The sites which are being searched are surrounded by soldiers and American dogs and underground searching equipment is being unloaded. It is reported that very little digging is underway yet.

US President Bill Clinton said the joint operation was exactly the sort of co-operation that was required to fight international drug trafficking.

"It's a horrible example, apparently, of the excesses of the drug dealing cartels in Mexico, and I think it reinforces the imperative of our not only trying to protect our border but to work with the Mexican authorities to try to combat these," he said.

ends

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