Army troops secure the scene in Poza Rica, Mexico, on 14 August 2023, the day after dozens of dismembered bodies were found in residences used as safe houses by criminal organizations. EFE/Edgar Escamilla

Dozens of bodies found in cartel safe houses in Mexico

Veracruz, Mexico, Aug 14 (EFE).- Dozens of dismembered bodies were found packed into refrigerators inside two residences used as safe houses by criminal organizations in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz, Mexican authorities said Monday.

The gruesome discovery took place Sunday in Poza Rica, an oil industry hub in the northern part of the state, during operations carried out by Veracruz law enforcement agencies with support from the Mexican army.

Medical examiners were still working to determine the number of bodies even as the search was expanded to other homes in the city of 200,000.

Veracruz state has suffered over the last two decades from violence associated with the activities of drug cartels, now also involved in migrant trafficking, kidnapping and extortion.

Last month, a trailer holding 148 undocumented migrants from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala was discovered on a roadside in the state, Mexico’s INM immigration service said.

Agents “rescued 148 migrant persons who traveled packed into the container of a trailer and were abandoned – in life-threatening conditions – alongside the Minatitlan-Cordoba highway,” the INM said in a statement.

The 335 clandestine graves found in the state between January 2018 and March of this year account for nearly 12 percent of the national total, according to figures from the federal Public Safety Department.