The search for two federal law enforcement agents who disappeared in western Mexico in early November has led to the discovery of eight clandestine graves containing the remains of 48 people, officials said.
Six more bodies were discovered Monday at the site in La Barca, a city in the western state of Jalisco, but the remains of the two agents have not yet been found, Attorney General's Office spokesmen told Efe.
The people whose bodies have been found may have died as a "result of shootouts between groups presumably involved in organized crime," the officials said.
This theory may be confirmed as "the investigation advances," the AG's office spokesmen said.
Investigators have been digging since Nov. 9 at the site on the limits of the cities of Vista Hermosa and La Barca where the clandestine graves were discovered.
The clandestine graves are in the Tierra Caliente region, which straddles Michoacan, Guerrero and Mexico states.
The Caballeros Templarios and Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generacion gangs have been fighting for control of the Tierra Caliente region.
Two federal law enforcement agents disappeared in the region on Nov. 3 and the search for the missing men led to the arrests of 22 local police officers and three civilians in connection with the case.
Rene Rojas Marquez and Gabriel Quijano Santiago, investigators with the federal AG's office, were ordered to join a federal operation targeting drug traffickers and run out of a joint operations base housing federal and state police and soldiers.
The AG's office investigators had orders to report to the base in Briseñas, a city located 120 kilometers (75 miles) from Zamora and near Michoacan's border with Jalisco.
Superiors lost contact with the investigators while the two men were traveling in an AG's office pick-up truck.
The burned truck was found in Cumuato, a community outside the city of Sahuayo, which is between Zamora and Briseñas.
Prosecutors are transferring all the human remains found at the site to the coroner's office, where autopsies will be conducted to determine "the cause of death, identity and date of death," officials told Efe.
Many of the victims were gagged, bound and appeared to have been tortured, with some possibly buried more than three years ago, officials said. EFE