The mass grave of 72 victims in Mexico's increasingly violent drug war has been unearthed by government troops.
Marines found the bodies a rural location near San Fernando, northern Mexico, following a battle with suspected drug cartel gunmen.
It appears to be the largest drug-cartel body dumping ground discovered since President Felipe Calderon launched an offensive against drug trafficking in 2006.
Mexican drug cartels often use spare land or mine shafts to dump the bodies of executed rivals or kidnap victims.
It was unclear whether the 58 men and 14 women had been killed at the same time, or separately after the discovery in Tamaulipas state, less than 100 miles from the U.S. border.
More than 28,000 people have died in the past four years in the world's most violent ongoing drug war as rival cartels fight to control the international cocaine trade.
Tamaulipas has become one of Mexico's bloodiest drug flashpoint's since the start of the year as rival hitmen from the Gulf cartel and its former armed wing, the Zetas, fight over smuggling routes into the U.S.
Hitmen killed a popular candidate for elections in the state in June, Mexico's worst political killing in 16 years.
President Felipe Calderon warned on Tuesday that more bloodshed will likely occur as his government continues its campaign to defeat violent drug cartels.
The extremely callous nature of the gunfights which have left ordinary Mexicans terrified was illustrated on Sunday when a six-month-old baby was killed by a stray bullet.
Francisco Iran Garibay Dominguez died in Ciudad Juarez after receiving a gun shot to the head during a shootout at his home when gunmen killed his mother's partner, according to local media.
By Mail Foreign Service
25th August 2010
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Mass grave of victims of Mexico drug war unearthed containing 72 bodies