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Hunt for Graves Digs Up Drug Labs

December 15, 1999

MEXICO CITY (AP) _ A border ranch where Mexican and U.S. authorities are looking for buried victims of drug gangs has turned up a new find: a clandestine drug laboratory.

More than 1,000 gallons of chemicals used in processing cocaine were found inside the ranch’s main building, according to a statement Tuesday from the Mexican attorney general’s office.

Mexican investigators also found cocaine grinders, metal presses for compressing the drug, a drying system with reflectors, other drug-handling tools and cartridges for Kalashnikov rifles.

The government statement said the search for bodies would begin after flammable material was removed. A search at another ranch also began on Tuesday, but nothing was immediately discovered.

After searching for more than two weeks, Mexican and FBI officials have turned up eight bodies at the ranches across the border from El Paso, Texas. A U.S. government informant had said that as many as 100 bodies might be found, but no additional bodies have been found in the past week.

Both American and Mexican officials said the killings are believed connected to the powerful Juarez drug cartel, one of Mexico’s largest cocaine smuggling operation until the 1997 death of its leader, Amado Carrillo Fuentes.

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