A series of mass graves in northern Mexico have yielded at least 59 bodies in a particularly grim finding in a bloody region. Police arrested 11 men on the scene and freed five people still being held hostage, reports the Wall Street Journal; the dead are thought to include a group kidnapped on a Mexican highway earlier this year, likely for ransom. Police found eight graves on the rural ranch, the largest of which contained 43 people.
President Felipe Calderon, whose drug war has claimed a numbing 35,000 lives in five years, blasted the slayings as an act of "cowardice" that points to the "total lack of conscience with which criminal organizations operate." The town of San Fernando was also the scene of the murder of 72 immigrants last August, and has increasingly skidded, along with Tamaulipas state, into lawlessness as drug gangs run rampant. State government is "completely paralyzed," says one expert.