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Mexican authorities have exhumed the remains of 31 bodies from two clandestine graves in the western Mexican state of Jalisco, officials announced Thursday, Feb. 16.

The first grave was discovered in  the town of San Isidro Mazatepec, Jalisco, on Feb. 1, in a region that has repeatedly been linked to violence and organized crime.

A second grave was discovered nearby several days later, authorities said.

“We have already counted 31 victims,” Jalisco Prosecutor Luis Joaquin Mendez said in a press conference Thursday.

Jalisco, which is under the control of the powerful Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CNGJ), is one of the Mexican states most affected by organized crime violence.

Last year, 301 bodies were discovered in the state in 41 clandestine graves, and 544 bodies were found in 2020, the highest number to date.

Mexico’s homicide rate has tripled since 2006, from 9.6 murders per 100,000 inhabitants to 28 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2021.

As of the end 0f 2022, more than 100,000 people were officially declared missing or disappeared in Mexico.

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