Mexican and U.S. authorities searching for victims of violence who disappeared near Ciudad Juarez excavated two more bodies Monday, bringing the total recovered to eight, Mexican officials said.
The two bodies were found buried together at a second remote location, the attorney general's office said in a statement late Monday night.
Mexican officials and the FBI began a major excavation Nov. 29 at a ranch 10 miles south of Ciudad Juarez, acting on a tip U.S. officials said they had received from an informant who claimed to be a former Mexican police officer who saw the burials.
At first, FBI officials said they believed 100 bodies could be buried near Ciudad Juarez, which shares a border with El Paso. But after finding only six sets of human remains last week, FBI officials pulled back from that estimate. Human rights groups and associations representing the families of missing people have said that about 200 Mexican and U.S. citizens have disappeared from the area in the past several years.
Mexican newspapers reported today that two of the bodies have been identified as FBI informants who disappeared in early 1995 after supplying data that led to the seizure of more than 18 tons of cocaine. They said the two men had used the aliases "El Rojo" (Red) and "Marci."
However, FBI Assistant Director Thomas J. Pickard said the newspaper reports were "not correct" and that no bodies have been identified.
Officials of both countries said they believe the Juarez cartel, Mexico's most powerful drug mafia, killed all the victims. Survivors and human rights groups said Mexican police and military officials were involved.
Staff writer Lorraine Adams in Washington contributed to this report.