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Police find 24 decomposed bodies at house in western Mexico

Flowers surround the flag-draped coffin of environmental activist Homero Gomez Gonzalez at his wake in Ocampo, Michoacan state, Mexico, Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020. Relatives of the anti-logging activist who fought to protect the winter habitat of monarch butterflies don't know whether he was murdered or died accidentally, but they say they do know one thing for sure: something bad is happening to rights and environmental activists in Mexico, and people are afraid. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)
Flowers surround the flag-draped coffin of environmental activist Homero Gomez Gonzalez at his wake in Ocampo, Michoacan state, Mexico, Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020. Relatives of the anti-logging activist who fought to protect the winter habitat of monarch butterflies don't know whether he was murdered or died accidentally, but they say they do know one thing for sure: something bad is happening to rights and environmental activists in Mexico, and people are afraid. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

MEXICO CITY – Prosecutors in western Mexico said Thursday that the arrest of a criminal gang led to the discovery of a house that had been used to dispose of 24 bodies.

Prosecutors in Michoacán state said decomposed bodies were found in the house in Coeneo, a township west of the Michoacán state capital of Morelia.

Some of the bodies found had been dismembered and buried in the patio of the house, which was under construction.

The dead included five women and 19 men, whose ages ranged from about 20 to about 40. Many had either had their throats slashed or been decapitated.

Experts estimated the victims had been killed between four and six months ago.