- - Monday, April 11, 2011

MEXICO

16 more bodies found in graves

MEXICO CITY | A suspect in the kidnapping and killing of bus passengers near the U.S. border led Mexican soldiers to another set of clandestine graves containing 16 bodies, bringing to 88 the number of corpses found in mass pits in the northern state of Tamaulipas.

The latest batch of bodies was found in four pits in the township of San Fernando, where prosecutors had previously found 72 corpses in 10 pits, the Defense Department said in a statement Sunday.

When detained, Armando Morales Uscanga had a rifle and almost $3,000 in cash, the statement said, adding that he told soldiers he had participated in kidnapping passengers on March 24 and 29 in the township of San Fernando, Tamaulipas.

He also said he had helped kill and bury 43 people found in pits April 6.

San Fernando is a town about 90 miles south of Brownsville, Texas, on a well-traveled stretch of highway that runs near the Gulf Coast. It is an area regularly patrolled by the Mexican military.

It was the second gruesome find in less than a year: In August, investigators found the bodies of 72 migrants in San Fernando.

Federal authorities said they are holding 14 people — 12 men and two women — as suspects in the latest case.

The federal attorney general’s office said there was evidence that most of the suspects belonged to the Zetas drug gang, the same group blamed for the August massacre. Some were detained with military-style uniforms, and others were found driving a pickup truck displaying false Mexican navy insignia.

The Zetas and rival Gulf Cartel are fighting in Tamaulipas over lucrative drug transit routes to the U.S. The state shares three major border cities with Brownsville, Laredo, and McAllen, Texas. Prosecutors say the kidnappings may have been part of a forced-recruitment effort by the Zetas gang.

CANADA

Conservatives closer to ruling majority

TORONTO | Canada’s ruling Conservative Party extended its lead over the Liberals to 11 points in an opinion poll released Monday, driving deeper into territory that could win them a majority in a May 2 federal election.

The Nanos Research tracking poll of results over three days of surveys put support for the Conservatives at 41.2 percent, up from 40.5 percent in a Saturday poll.

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