The remains of two young people who disappeared in eastern Mexico have been identified, authorities said on Monday, in a case that echoes the 2014 abduction and apparent massacre of 43 students that sparked international outrage.

The people were part of a group of five Mexicans abducted weeks ago by state police in the state of Veracruz and handed over to members of a local criminal group, according to sources familiar with the investigation.

The skeletal remains of the two youth were discovered at a ranch in Tlalixcoyan, Veracruz, about 240 miles (390 kilometers) from the capital, where authorities also found evidence of drugs and illegal fuel storage.

The Zetas cartel, which has been blamed for many of the bloodiest atrocities carried out by Mexican gangs, operates in the area.

In 2014, 43 students were abducted by corrupt police officers in southwest Mexico and handed over to members of a local drug gang that apparently murdered them, highlighting the deep ties between Mexico's criminals and the police.

Seven state police officers were detained days after the most recent disappearance of the group, which included one 16-year-old girl and four males aged 24 to 27.

(Reporting by Anahi Rama; Editing by Miral Fahmy)