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Nearly 100,000 people are missing from cartel "extermination sites" in Mexico. There are many human remains that have been found.

Investigators saw the burned foot as a tipoff. This squat, ruined home was where bodies were taken apart and incinerated. It also contained the remains of some Mexican missing peoples.

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Nearly 100,000 people are missing from cartel "extermination sites" in Mexico. There are many human remains that have been found.

How many people disappeared from this "extermination" site for cartels located on the outskirts Nuevo Laredo (miles from the U.S. border)? Six months later, forensic technicians are still unable to give an estimate. The compacted, burned human remains and other debris reached nearly 2 feet in depth within a single room.

Uncounted bones were found spread over 75,000 feet of desert scrubland. The scrub is littered with twisted wires that were apparently used to tie victims.

Technicians place the items they find, such as bones, buttons and earrings, in paper bags that are labeled with their contents. Exposed bone fragments to fire


They are taken to Ciudad Victoria's forensic laboratory, where they will be waited in boxes of paper bags. They will be waiting for a while as there aren't enough resources, too many fragments, missing people, and too many dead.

The insufficiency and lack of investigation into Mexico's almost 100,000 disappearances at Nuevo Laredo is evident. There are 52,000 people unidentified in cemeteries and morgues, not counting this one where the charred remains can only be weighed by weight.

People continue to disappear. More remains are discovered every day.

Oswaldo Salinas is the head of the Tamaulipas State Attorney General's Identification Team. He said, "We take care one case and 10 others arrive."

There is still no progress in bringing those guilty to justice. Recent data from Mexico's Federal Audit shows that none of the 1,600 investigations into disappearances made by cartels or authorities opened by the Attorney General's Office were brought to the courts by 2020.

Nuevo Laredo continues to work. There is hope that even one family can find closure. However, it can take many years.

A forensic technician smiled despite the chaos: she had discovered an unburnt tooth that could have provided DNA for identification.

Official toll for missing persons: 98.356

Jorge Macias (head of the Tamaulipas State Search Commission) and his team arrived at Nuevo Laredo. They had to clear the brush and find human remains to get to the house. They found a barrel with blood on it, a shovel and a shovel in the trough. Gunfire could be heard in the distance.

Six months later, there is still more than 32,000 square feet of property left to be inspected and catalogued.

Although the house was cleared, four spaces that were used for cremation are still visible. It took technicians three weeks to remove the concrete, concrete, and melted tires from the bathroom. Salinas, who is responsible for the work at the site, stated that the technicians had spent three weeks digging. The walls are covered in grease.

Macias discovered the Nuevo Laredo home last August while searching for more than 70 missing people along the stretch of highway linking Monterrey to Nuevo Laredo. This was the busiest border crossing between Mexico and the United States.

This area was once known as Kilometer 26, which was a point on Highway 26 and an invisible entrance to the Kingdom of the Northeast cartel. It is a splinter from the Zetas. Small shops sell food and coffee. These men sell stolen gasoline and other drugs. Strangers are recorded with their cell phones. Large-caliber weapons were used to blast the power poles further north along the highway.

Many of the victims were truck drivers and cabbies. However, there was at least one family member and several U.S. citizens. A total of twelve people were found alive.

Karla Quintana (head of the National Search Commission) stated that the disappearances were related to a dispute between Jalisco New Generation, which tried to enter the area and the Northeast cartel which wanted them to stay out. It is not clear whether the victims were drug smugglers or people. Some were also abducted incorrectly. Or if the goal was to create terror.

When the government declared war against the drug cartels in 2006, the phenomenon of Mexico's missing persons exploded. The government ignored violence for years and forced families of missing to become detectives.

The law that established the National Search Commission was not passed until 2018, the end of the previous administration. Following local commissions were established in each state. These protocols separated investigations from searches. A temporary, independent body of technical experts was created by the U.N. and supported by national and international experts to clear the backlog.

Officially, there are 98,356 missing. Mexico's missing are outnumbered only by Colombia, which is ravaged by civil wars and military dictatorships. Mexico is still facing a challenge that's unlike other countries: families and authorities continue to search for those who disappeared in the 1960s or are still missing today.

The government of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador was the first to acknowledge the severity of the problem and to speak of "extermination areas" and to conduct effective searches.

He also said that in 2019, authorities would have all the necessary resources. The national commission, with 352 employees, was expected to have 89 this year. Macias' state Commission has 22 positions, but only a dozen of them have been filled. The problem isn't the money, but finding qualified applicants to fill these positions.

"Pelvises, skulls, and femurs, everything is just lying there."

Because there is no body, disappearances are the ultimate crime. The cartels are skilled at making sure there isn't a body.

Macias stated that if a criminal group controls an area, they will "kitchens" because it is easy to openly burn bodies. They dig graves in areas they don't own and where the other side can easily see the smoke.

A member of Tijuana's cartel, confessed in 2009 to "cooking" 300 victims with caustic lye. A report from a university investigation center revealed that the jail, which was officially located in Piedras Negras at the border, was actually a Zetas command centre and crematorium eight years later.

The largest of these sites was a border site near the Rio Grande, called "the dungeon", and located in territory controlled the the Gulf cartel. Macias still has a vivid memory of that experience. Macias recalls that he first saw "pelvises, skulls, and femurs" there. He said, "It cannot be."

So far, more than 1,100 pounds worth of bones have been recovered at the site by authorities.

According to the Tamaulipas State Forensic Service, 15 "extermination spots" were found. There are also burial grounds: In 2010, 191 bodies were discovered in graves along the main migration route through Tamaulipas to reach the border. 43 students were killed in Guerrero, the southernmost state. From pieces of burned bones, only three students have been found.

Family members have often found extermination sites, with or without the assistance and protection of authorities. These search groups are available in almost every state.

The discoveries bring hope and pain to the families.

"It brings together many emotions," said a woman who is searching for her husband and two of her brothers since 2014. She has spent her entire life searching for loved ones in Mexico like thousands of other relatives. It makes you happy to locate (a site), but when you stop seeing things as they are, it is a nosedive.

She requested anonymity due to safety concerns. She could not help but cry when she was led to Nuevo Laredo by Macias.

She had discovered the location in central Tamaulipas, where her loved ones were, a few months prior. They entered the brush to search for a drug camp.

She said, "I'm not well psychologically afterwards that." She showed photos of deep graves in which burned remains were buried, some with barbed wire. She said that they had recovered about a thousand teeth.

"This issue is a beast"

Recenty, in Nuevo Laredo gloved hands worked through the dirt to separate bits of bone. A piece of a jaw, fragments of skulls, and a vertebra were all separated.

It is not easy work. The forensic technicians clean up the brush and then dig. The temperature can hover around freezing on some days, while others are above 100 degrees. They are always protected and wear white protective suits from head to toe.

Security is a concern so authorities have seperated the search function and the investigations. The cartels seem less concerned about those looking for bones, but anything they find could ultimately become evidence in a case. They are taken to a safe place each day, and they don't return to the site until the next day.

The capital's morgue could hold six bodies when the violence of cartels erupted in Tamaulipas, in 2010. 72 migrants were killed by a cartel in that single massacre. The Interamerican Commission of Human Rights condemned serious negligence in Tamaulipas forensic work.

Pedro Sosa (director of state's forensic services) said that their working methods changed dramatically with the creation of the identification team in 2018. It's not enough. "A single forensic analyst in the entire state is not compatible for all of this work."

The Nuevo Laredo remains can take up to four months to be processed, cleaned and delivered to the genetic laboratory. If there is an urgent situation, it may take longer. For example, in January last year when almost 20 people were killed in an attack at the border, it took four months.

Even if they do extract DNA, it is not guaranteed that the profile will be identified because it will only automatically cross with a state database.

It may take years before the profile is added into one of the national databases. The federal auditor stated that the system had 7,600 missing and 6,500 dead registrations in 2020.

Marlene Herbig of the International Committee of the Red Cross said that even though the federal law requires that databases be interconnected, such a system doesn't exist. Despite calls for bridges, each state's federal fingerprint or genetic profile database is an isolated island.

It is impossible to estimate the amount of money or time it will take Mexico to find and identify the missing.

Herbig provided a hint: It took 10 years for 200 people to be identified on Cyprus by a similar effort. This was in response to the conflict between Turkey and Greece that occurred in the second half of the 20th century. There are thousands more people missing in Mexico than in Cyprus.

Macias stated, "This issue's a monster."

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