More than 150 corpses found in container after cemetery 'ran out of burial space'

Residents in Mexico complained of a “foul smell”, leading to the discovery of more than 150 corpses stored in a container near their homes.

Authorities rented the container after mortuaries in the city of Guadalajara were all full, and laws prevent the cremation of bodies linked to violent crime.

The refrigerated trailer, containing 157 bodies, was initially parked at a warehouse in the neighbourhood of Duraznera, but after two weeks residents there complained of a foul smell and said it was attracting flies.

A police officer walks past an abandoned container full of bodies in Tlajomulco de Zuniga, Jalisco, Mexico. Source: Reuters

It was then transported to the suburb of Tlajomulco de Zúñiga, but residents there complained of the stench at the weekend.

“We have a lot of children in this neighbourhood. It could make us all sick,” said resident José Luis Tovar.

“We don’t want it here. They need to put it somewhere else, it stinks.”

On Monday, the container was moved to a warehouse near Jalisco state prosecutor’s office in Guadalajara.

A truck leaves with an abandoned trailer full of bodies that has been parked in Tlajomulco de Zuniga, Jalisco, Mexico. Source: Reuters

Local authorities say they are searching for a long-term solution after a recent wave of violence.

“We ran out of cemetery plots where we could bury them,” said Luis Octavio Cotero, head of the Jalisco forensic investigators unit.

More than 200,000 people have been killed or have disappeared in Mexico in the past 12 years after the government tried to tackle organised crime.

Like other parts of Mexico, Jalisco is suffering from a crime wave that led to a record 31,000 homicides in 2017. The state is home to one of Mexico’s most violent and powerful drug gangs, Jalisco New Generation Cartel.

Officials recorded 16,339 homicides across Mexico in the first seven months of this year, an increase of 17 per cent from the same period of 2017.

Men stand by the “foul smelling” abandoned trailer full of bodies. Source: Reuters

The surging numbers of deaths has overwhelmed Jalisco’s morgue and work is underway on a new facility that would hold 700 bodies in its first phase, the state’s general secretary Roberto Lopez said.

“When it is built, these bodies will be transferred,” Mr Lopez said. He added that the new facility will be completed in a month and a half.

On Monday, Mr Lopez acknowledged that the use of the truck showed a lack of respect and promised to launch an investigation.

The government “will not tolerate displays of indifference or laziness,” he wrote on his Twitter account.

The identity of the bodies was not immediately clear and how they died, although Mr Lopez was reported in Mexican media as saying they were unidentified victims of organised crime.