“Char” for Borderland Beat 

This article was translated and reposted from EL OCCIDENTAL 

The geographical location of the area makes it a real “dumping ground”.

Elizabeth Ibal / El Occidental

El Paso de Guadalupe, a town at the foot of the highway to Saltillo that is located on the border of Ixtlahuacan del Rio and Zapopan, near the Santiago River, has long been a clandestine grave “dump”. This area is controlled by Ricardo Ruiz Velasco, alias “El Doble R”.

Over time, the remains that months ago were abandoned there are now only bones that have been found by various collectives of relatives of missing persons. The findings intensified during the month of January after collectives Luz de Esperanza and Madres Buscadoras de Jalisco conducted field searches. Only in the month that just ended, remains were located on the 5th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, 20th, 26th, 28th and 31st, according to the records of the State Prosecutor’s Office.

While during 2023 there were 10 other discoveries of human remains and bodies. The collective Madres Buscadoras de Jalisco is the one that has made the most discoveries in January. Since the 5th of that month they have found several skeletons that could belong to 15 people.

These findings have been in Paso de Guadalupe at kilometer 28 of the highway to Saltillo, all have been located at ground level. That area near the riverbed is full of rocks, and since then the searchers have been permanently exploiting it in the hope of finding their missing loved ones there.

The most recent finding was in recent days at kilometer 29 of the highway to Saltillo, near the town of San Francisco Ixcatán, where members of this group found a lower extremity some 300 meters away from the highway. Hector Flores, founder of the Colectivo Luz de Esperanza (Light of Hope Collective), which also conducts searches in the area, assures that the remains have been abandoned there for some time.

“It is very difficult to do these searches in the area. The remains that we find there periodically, it is a disgrace that every two or three months we find remains there. They are of Long DATA, the skeletons that we found are approximately one year old”.

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Kilometers before the Guadalupe pass is the area known as Cola de Caballo, a site that has historically also served criminal groups as a dumping ground for bodies. The area, which is far from the town, lacks lighting and surveillance, which means that drug gangs use it as a body dump. The collective Luz de Esperanza has already requested actions to prevent them from continuing to leave bodies in the area.

“Regarding the highway to Saltillo, we have asked the municipal government and the state government to find a way to clean up the three dumps, to put up a fence so that human remains are no longer dumped there, but we have had no response. In February, because there is no budget, neither at the federal level, nor at the state level due to the fiscal issue, there is no budget for the families”.

He regretted that there are no policies to prevent the disappearance of people and the subsequent abandonment of their bodies in such sites.

“It is a reflection of what we are living, the situation has not changed, there is no containment or investigation in life. So unfortunately our disappeared are condemned to death because the authorities do nothing and we continue to find them in this way.”

Not even the authorities go there

Francisco Jiménez Reynoso, a specialist in security issues and full-time researcher at the University of Guadalajara and the Observatory of Security and Justice, said that the geographical location of the area makes it a real “dump”.

“Its conditions, its uninhabitability, an inhospitable road, very lonely, almost no surveillance, the darkness because this type of events regularly, with few exceptions, take advantage of the night, of the great darkness that exists on this road, the lack of lighting, the lack of surveillance, the authorities themselves know that it is dangerous there and not even they go there, much less at night, so there are several factors, the geographical issue.”

Regarding the initiative of requesting the placement of a mesh, the specialist assures that it would be an option to inhibit crime. It is a proposal that should be taken seriously because they know what is happening, they know more than the authorities and they are more involved than the authorities, they have more interest than the authorities, even from the three levels of government.

For years the authorities have promised to reinforce security in the area, however, remains continue to be found both in Paso de Guadalupe and on the highway to Saltillo near the Los Camachos spa. The commissioner of the Zapopan Police Jorge Alberto Arizpe Garcia assured that it is an area in which there is constant vigilance by the authorities of the three levels of government.

“There is patrolling and not only from us but also from the National Guard, from the Sedena there is also going to be patrolling. We coordinate with them, even recently there was a young girl under age when she was rescued who was about 50 meters away”.

According to the collective Luz de Esperanza, there are more than 5 thousand unidentified human remains in the Instituto Jalisciense de Ciencias Forenses, which have been located in different points of the Metropolitan Zone of Guadalajara.