Investigators said Thursday they have found 166 skulls in clandestine burial pits in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz, one of the biggest mass graves discovered so far in Mexico. Veracruz state prosecutor Jorge Winckler said that for security reasons he would not reveal the location of the site. Mexican drug cartels frequently use clandestine pits to dispose of their victims. Winckler said the bodies were buried at least two years ago and he did not rule out finding more remains, the AP reports. He said investigators had found 114 ID cards in the field, which held about 32 burial pits.
Clothes, personal possessions, and other parts of skeletons also were recovered, but investigators focused on the skulls in counting as each clearly corresponds to one person. Veracruz was the scene of bloody turf battles between the Zetas and Jalisco drug cartels, but the state has also suffered waves of kidnappings and extortions. Winckler said prosecutors found the field after a witness told them that "hundreds of bodies" were buried there. Investigators used drones, probes, and ground-penetrating radar to locate the pits and began digging about a month ago. (More than 250 skulls and bodies were found after another mass grave in the state was excavated last year.)