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Aug-26-2010 07:03printcommentsVideo

Bodies of 72 Migrants Discovered Near US Border

The crime is connected to the Zetas drug cartel; it is the worst in Mexico's history.

Survivor of attack that left 72 dead at a Mexican ranch
Survivor of attack that left 72 dead courtesy: AFP.

(MEXICO CITY / SALEM) - Texas has the reputation as the place where 'Everything's Big", but when it comes to mass murders and piles of dead bodies, the XXL award certainly belongs to the nearby Mexican state of Tamaulipas, where the bodies of 72 people were discovered this week.

'White drugs', particularly methamphetamine, can quickly alter a personality and the need to maintain a supply leads people to do terrible things.

That is likely part of the puzzle in a grisly discovery of 58 male corpses and 14 female bodies, described as Central and South Americans, who were killed by Mexican drug cartel members, the Zeta gang, according to reports.

Gang members there use the stuff in some cases like it is going out of style.

Officials also point to this incident as one of the most tragic and vivid reminder of the perils faced by migrants trying to make their way to the US.

An Ecuadorean national named Lala Pomavilla, managed to escape the attackers and found his way to a highway checkpoint. He alerted Marines there, who ended up responding to the area and losing one of their own in the ensuing firefight.

This man, an illegal migrant, explained to authorities that he and the others had been kidnapped by the armed cartel members and transported to the ranch in San Fernando, Mexico, located about one hundred miles south of Brownsville, Texas.

Authorities in Mexico say they can't be sure exactly why the cartel chose to murder the group. It is known that drug cartels make a habit out of kidnapping these unfortunate people trying to make their way northward, demanding payments for crossing the cartel land. The AP reports that the gangs will sometimes kidnap migrants and demand ransom from their relatives already located in the US.

Worst Ever

In the past Mexican authorities have discovered several dozen bodies at at single location, but they are sometimes body dumping areas where the victims died at different times but ended up in the same place. It is not clear if all of these 72 victims died in a close time proximity; the investigation is continuing.

  • The largest discovery of bodies in Mexico prior to this event, happened last May, when the remains of 55 human beings were located in an abandoned mine shaft near Taxco, a colonial-era tourist city south of Mexico City.
  • 51 corpses were discovered in July in a field located near a trash dump near the large city of Monterrey in northern Mexico. It was believed that rival traffickers comprised many of the dead in that case.

The bodies were discovered Tuesday when Marines manning a checkpoint were approached by a wounded man who said he had been attacked by gang gunmen at a nearby ranch. Officials said he identified himself an illegal migrant and said that he and other migrants had been kidnapped by an armed group and taken to the ranch in San Fernando, a town about 100 miles (160 kilometers) south of Brownsville, Texas.

It was unclear if all 72 were killed at the same time — or why. A federal official who asked to not be identified, tole The AP that the victims were killed within recent days, according to investigators on the scene.

The Mexican Navy sent aircraft to the reported location to verify the man's information and when the gunmen saw the marines, they opened fire and then fled in a convoy of vehicles. 21 assault rifles were seized, along with shotguns and rifles.

For a collection of photos from AFP, Reuters and The AP, visit; this link.

Tim King: Salem-News.com Editor and Writer

Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor. Tim spent the winter of 2006/07 covering the war in Afghanistan, and he was in Iraq over the summer of 2008, reporting from the war while embedded with both the U.S. Army and the Marines.

Tim holds numerous awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing, including the Oregon AP Award for Spot News Photographer of the Year (2004), first place Electronic Media Award in Spot News, Las Vegas, (1998), Oregon AP Cooperation Award (1991); and several others including the 2005 Red Cross Good Neighborhood Award for reporting. Tim has several years of experience in network affiliate news TV stations, having worked as a reporter and photographer at NBC, ABC and FOX stations in Arizona, Nevada and Oregon. Serving the community in very real terms, Salem-News.com is the nation's only truly independent high traffic news Website. As News Editor, Tim among other things, is responsible for publishing the original content of 65 Salem-News.com writers. He reminds viewers that emails are easily missed and reminds those trying to reach him to send a second email if the first goes unanswered. You can send Tim an email at this address: newsroom@salem-news.com






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Anonymous August 27, 2010 7:48 am (Pacific time)

And you people want to give amnesty to millions of Mexicans? Are you all out of your mind? Do you know how many of these criminals will end up in our Country? I believe this is just the beginning, coming to work here my butt.

Editor: Your comment doesn't make sense.

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