Mexico: Remains of missing call center workers identified

Wednesday, 7 June 2023 (11:22 IST)
Mexican authorities said that human remains found in sacks in a ravine in the western state of Jalisco last week belong to eight call center workers who were reported missing, as suspected.
Two women and six men, all aged around 30 years, had been reported missing since around May 20.
Their remains were found last week in 45 bags at the bottom of a 40-meter (120-foot) ravine in the municipality of Zapopan, a suburb of Guadalajara, a large industrial hub.
Forensic evidence "confirms that [the remains] correspond to the young people who... had been reported missing," the Jalisco state government said in a statement Tuesday. Authorities did not indicate how the victims may have died.
Victims worked at illegal call center
The young people worked in a call center in the area in Zapopan, a suburb of Guadalajara, which investigators say was probably involved in telephone scams.
Police were initially looking for two women and five men, but later another employee was reported missing.
The missing person reports for each one of the employees had been made separately on different days, but investigators found that they all worked at the same call center.     
Relatives of the missing have criticized authorities, saying they had been to slow to find their loved ones and to investigate the call center.
Disappearances in Mexico
In recent years, human remains have been found in bags or unmarked graves in different areas of Jalisco. The Jalisco New Generation cartel operates in the state and is one of the most powerful organized crime groups in Mexico. It is also embroiled in disputes with other drug syndicates.
Mexican crime syndicates are no longer just dealing drugs. Numerous criminal groups are also involved in petrol theft, extortion, people smuggling and kidnapping. They often have ties to corrupt politicians and security forces.
In April, the US Treasury imposed sanctions on this cartel, which allegedly used illegal call centers to scam older US citizens with a timeshare fraud.
Mexico has long struggled with violent crime, and a controversial military anti-drug offensive launched in 2006 has done little to contain it. Since its launch, the country has recorded more than 340,000 murders and some 100,000 disappearances, the majority attributed to criminal organizations. 

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