Arbolillo: From fishing village to illegal cemetery

A mass grave was found near a small town in Veracruz, allegedly used by the Gulf and 'Zetas' cartels
Arbolillo: From fishing village to illegal cemetery
Last week, the Attorney General’s Office in the state of Veracruz revealed the finding of an enormous mass grave where 174 skulls were found - Photo: Rosario Lucas/EL UNIVERSAL
13/09/2018
14:13
Édgar Ávila y Patricia Morales
Mexico City
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Over the Gulf’s coastal highway, in the Paseo del Toro-Alvarado route, a small sign can be seen pointing to Arbolillo, a small village located between the waters of the Gulf, and the lagoon system of Alvarado, in the state of Veracruz.

Arbolillo is known for its fishermen and gastronomy. A group of small lodgings can be seen in the coastal area, just a few minutes away from what has now become one of the drug cartels’ favorite place to dump bodies in clandestine mass graves.

Although the people of Alvarado are known for their sharp sense of humor, joy, and flowery use of colloquial language, they have witnessed the horrid presence of two of Mexico’s deadliest cartels: The Gulf cartel and the ‘Zetas.’ Lately, they have been shocked by the finding of several bodies in their village.

The nefarious cemetery can be found in plain sight. One need only follow the only paved road in town: At its end, on the rough sand floor, lies a yard where hundreds of human remains are buried.

Last week, the Attorney General’s Office in the state of Veracruz revealed the finding of an enormous mass grave where 174 skulls were found, along with pieces of clothing and ID cards. Leading Mexican newspaper EL UNIVERSAL was on site. The graves are cordoned off and guarded by Ministerial Federal Police officers who overlook the unearthing of the remains.

In March 2017, State Prosecutor Jorge Winckler revealed the finding of an illegal cemetery where 47 skulls and human remains had been found along eight different pits within a perimeter of 394 feet. Following the unearthing, experts confirmed the presence of five bodies that corresponded to people that had gone missing in 2017. Since March last year, the Solecito group informed the prosecutor that there were more pits in Arbolillo and asked for permission to conduct a thorough search.

“We went there and saw that there were clothes and other personal items lying around. We know for sure that they were in a hurry for the way they left everything,” stated Lucía de los Ángeles Díaz Genao, founder of said institution, who claimed that the bodies found in the mass graves of Arbolillo corresponded to people gone missing during the administration of Miguel Ángel Yunes Linares.

“The Solecito group has found three missing people in the pits, and we know that they disappeared during the Yunes government: Two brothers and the girlfriend of one of them. Winckler Ortiz was already working in the Prosecutor’s office.”

The group has considered filing a complaint with the National Commission of Human Rights (CNDH). Until now, around 300 people have gone to the General Directorate of Expert Services of Xalapa to consult the photo archive of clothes found within the 32 pits located near the village of Arbolillo this year. Two of the victims have been identified thanks to their ID cards.

On the other hand, the head of Legal Counseling of the Executive Commission for Victims Service (CEAV), Karla Quintana Osuna, accused the Prosecutor’s Office of breaking the law, since they leaked the information to the media before informing the victims on the findings.
 

Artículo

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