Mexican authorities made a grim discovery in the state of Nayarit Tuesday. Almost three dozen human skulls were found buried in shallow graves in a region of Mexico known for recent violence between drug cartels, Reuters reported.

 

 

A government official in the area told Reuters that 33 skulls were found in proximity to each other. Those skulls were spread across three different shallow graves. Despite the seemingly obvious link to drug violence that has been associated with the country since 2006, the Reuters report was quick to note the victims had not been yet identified.

According to Reuters, the rise in murders in Nayarit can be traced to a war between the Sinaloa Cartel and the Jalisco New Generation Cartel. The former is best known as the cartel of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán, a notoriously powerful Mexican drug trafficker who currently awaits trial in the United States.

GettyImages-696447752 People take part in a protest to mark one month since the murder of Mexican journalist Javier Valdez, a noted expert on the country's drug cartels and AFP contributor whose death appears far from being brought to justice, in Culiacan, Sinaloa State, Mexico on June 15, 2017. Photo: FERNANDO BRITO/AFP/Getty Image

Nayarit was also linked to the ongoing drug war in March 2017 when state attorney general Edgar Veytia was arrested at the border crossing to San Diego, California, for allegedly smuggling cocaine, meth and a host of other illegal substances. Ironically, Veytia once positioned himself as an enemy of the drug trade, even going as far as to declare there was “no room” for organized crime in Nayarit, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The past year saw record increases in homicides in Mexico, largely linked to the ongoing drug conflict. Fighting between the Mexican government and the country’s many competing drug cartels goes back to 2006, according to CNN’s timeline of the war. Sales of Mexican drugs in the U.S. generate billions of dollars, but have resulted in large amounts of bloodshed in affected regions. The U.S. State Department even issued a travel advisory for five of Mexico’s 31 states in January.