Mexico’s government announced that it will move to try 73 individuals who are suspected of killing 183 people found in mass graves in San Fernando, Tamaulipas.
The detainees had previously been held under the “arraigo,” a provision in the Mexican legal system that allows the government to hold suspects for a 40-day period, which can be renewed once, while they collect evidence and decide whether to proceed. With the expiration of the arraigo looming, the government announced that it would bring the case before a judge, who will decide the fate of the 73 suspects.
Eight of the 73 have already been found guilty, the government said. Even bringing the cases to trial is something of a victory for the Mexican government. According to a recent report by the country’s Justice Department, more than 70 percent of those arrested on federal charges, which include most of those related to organized crime, were released without trial in 2010.
The government has blamed the San Fernando killings on a cell of the Zetas headed by Martin Omar Estrada, alias “Comandante Kilo”. However, the most recent announcement offered no comment on the gang affiliation of those awaiting trial. Authorities have struggled to find a motive for the killings, which seem to have primarily targeted bus passengers with no known association to organized crime.