The remains of at least 13 bodies have been found in freezers in Mexico, a region hit hard by drug-trafficking gang violence, a judicial source said Monday.

The remains were found in black plastic bags the day before Sunday in Posa Rica, near Veracruz (east).

“Six persons have been arrested” who are “probably connected to the events”, the prosecutor of the state of Veracruz explained in a laconic statement to the press.

The remains were found by the police, inside a property where three abductees were being held.

Human remains were discovered on the property distributed in freezers. Later, more were found, in different buildings.

Veracruz, a state known for its coffee and vanilla, is also part of the routes used by cartels to transport drugs to the US market.

On the Gulf of Mexico, Veracruz has been swept by a wave of violence since 2010, with traumatic episodes that have remained etched in the memories. In September 2011, for example, 35 bodies were dumped on a public road in broad daylight in Boca del Rio, south of the city of Veracruz.

In the first half of the year, authorities counted at least 400 murders in the state, according to official data.

Former governor of Veracruz Javier Duarte (2010-2016) was sentenced in 2018 to serve nine years in prison for money laundering and gang formation.

In Mexico, over 400,000 murders have been recorded since 2006, while over 110,000 people have disappeared since the 1960s.

Most of these crimes are attributed by the authorities to gang wars or cartel retaliation for actions by security forces.

The violence took off in 2006, when then-President Felipe Calderon declared “war” on drug cartels, deploying the military inside the country.

Current President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has said he would prefer to tackle the root causes of crime, particularly poverty and the lack of prospects for young people. But he too is criticized because he relies too much on the army.