Forty-five bags filled with human remains were found in the western Mexican state of Jalisco on Tuesday, officials said.
Investigators with the Jalisco State Prosecutor’s Office were searching for seven young call center workers when they made the gruesome discovery in a 40-meter deep ravine, according to a statement.
The call center workers disappeared last week from the Jardines Vallarta and La Estancia neighborhoods in Jalisco.
The State Prosecutor’s Office is continuing its search for the seven call center workers as it’s not clear at this time if the remains belong to them.
Police responded to the Mirador del Bosque ravine in the city of Zapopan Tuesday afternoon after receiving information that it may contain evidence related to the missing young people. A black plastic bag with human remains was found, triggering a search effort in the area.
At least 45 bags with human remains belonging to both men and women were found.
Efforts to extract the bags from the ravine were ongoing on Tuesday with help from firefighters and police personnel as well as a helicopter. Due to the area being difficult to reach and lacking natural light, the search continued on Wednesday.
The Jalisco Forensic Medical Service is investigating the identification of the remains, how many bodies were found, as well as the cause of death.
Jalisco has been plagued with violence in recent years, especially at the hands of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG).
In 2020, the U.S. Justice Department announced more than 750 arrests after a six-month investigation targeting the Mexican drug cartel.
“CJNG has contributed to a catastrophic trail of human and physical destruction in Mexico,” said Assistant Attorney General Brian Benczowski at the time. “It is the most well-armed cartel in Mexico. Its members willingly confront rival cartels and even the security forces of the Mexican government. CJNG is responsible for grisly acts of violence and loss of life.”